Hong Kong eye Ashgabat 2017 cycling success
Hong Kong may be small, compact and one of the most densely populated places in the world, but when it comes to Cycling the territory has long punched above its weight at both Asian and global level.
Home to three world champions on the track since the turn of the millennium, the city of just over seven million people has a record that is the envy of nations with much greater populations.
From Wong Kam-po to Marco Kwon Ho-ting and through to Sarah Lee Wai-sze, Hong Kong has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the velodrome.
The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from 17–27 September will be another opportunity for the China’s Special Administrative Region to once again highlight the talent it possesses and showcase the new stars on their way through.
“Many riders seize the chance to be part of our development programme even though we can’t say we have plenty of resources compared with other countries, although we do put in a lot of resources for the team,” said Hong Kong Cycling Association Executive Director Alex Wong.
“We do as much as we can by using the platform we have in China. When riders are in our development team then we can work on their basic style and they can get good experience and that’s very important for Hong Kong Cycling.
“This is how we develop a good system at many levels, especially for the riders at the junior and middle levels. For the senior levels we have great support from the Hong Kong Sports Institute. Everyone knows Hong Kong is small and we don’t have many riders.”
Hong Kong’s cyclists have flourished under Chinese coach Shen Jinkang, who nurtured the talent of Wong, Kwok and Lee.
Wong became Hong Kong and Asia’s first-ever World Cycling Champion when he won the 15km scratch race in 2007 and four years later Kwok claimed the rainbow jersey in the same event.
Lee, meanwhile, had become a dominant figure in women’s Cycling, claiming bronze at the Olympic Games in London in the Keirin before claiming her own world title a year later in the 500m time trial.
Shen has established a training base in China for many of Hong Kong’s cyclists that has helped to further develop the squad.
Hong Kong has established itself on the global scene, hosting the UCI Track Cycling World Championship earlier this year while all eyes are on Vivian Ma as the territory’s next big hope on the track.
Hong Kong will warm up for Ashgabat 2017 by competing at the China National Games in Tianjin before the final team is selected for the biggest multi-sport event ever hosted in Central Asia where the Cycling will be held from 18–23 September.
“We hope that we can do well in Turkmenistan,” said Alex Wong.