Hong Kong’s Sarah Lee sprints to Asian Games gold

Hong Kong’s Sarah Lee Wai-sze said she overcame a jittery night to defend her sprint crown at the Asian Games on Friday, ending her track cycling campaign with two gold medals.

Lee, who set a tournament-record 10.583 seconds in Thursday’s qualifying round, beat South Korea’s Lee Hye-jin in two straight races at the Jakarta velodrome.

The 31-year-old former Olympic keirin bronze medallist said she had been nervous yet confident of a strong showing going into the continental games final.

“I was really very nervous. I did good on that (track) but you really don’t know what will happen. Last night I couldn’t sleep very well,” Lee told reporters.

“But I was more confident and stronger than the others and that’s why I performed well. I went step by step to the gold medal.

“I tried to calm down and control my mental emotions to do my best,” Lee, who won the keirin final earlier this week, said.

Lee, who was also part of Hong Kong’s silver-winning sprint team in Jakarta, said she would target gold at the 2020 Olympics.

South Korea’s Cho Sun-young got bronze on Friday after edging out China’s Zhong Tianshi — who won team sprint gold at the 2016 Olympics — in a determined 2-1 finish.

In the men’s keirin, it was disappointment for Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang who settled for bronze a day after shaving off his moustache to celebrate a sprint gold.

Angsuthasawit Jai raced to gold in the keirin final with Japan’s Nitta Yudai taking silver.

“I just went into it as strong as I could and I came out lucky,” Jai, who earlier represented Australia, told AFP.

“Very unexpected. Was confident to get a medal but not gold. Halfway through the race I had energy in my legs and I went for it.

“I want to go to the World Cups and World Championships. And I want to stay in the Thailand team for as long as I can.”

Jai, 23, competed in track cycling for Australia at junior and national levels, but in September 2017 chose to begin representing Thailand.

Azizulhasni said he had been on good form but still failed to win more than a bronze.

“That’s the beauty of keirin,” he said. “This is one of my best performances as well.”

“Let’s now focus on the Tokyo Olympics,” he added.

Hong Kong won the men’s madison gold after their riders pushed South Korea into second position in the final few laps of the relay event. Japan took bronze.

The Hong Kong duo of Cheung King-lok and Leung Chun-wing lived up to their top billing as they accumulated 59 points at the end of lap 16, five ahead of Korea.

The relay final also witnessed a crash between riders from Iran and Thailand but there were no serious injuries.

South Korea won gold in the women’s madison with Hong Kong taking silver and China settling for bronze.

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