Sarah Lee Wai-sze and her teammates will get the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd. Photo: Nora Tam

Sarah Lee Wai-sze and her teammates will get the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd. Photo: Nora Tam

Hong Kong Track Cycling superstar and other top Hong Kong riders are hoping to compete in front of their home crowd after the local cycling association decided to spend HK$10 million event to host a leg of the World Cup.

Association Chairman Leung Hung-tak revealed yesterday they would lodge a formal bid after successfully sorting out financial issues and the International Cycling Union (UCI) was almost certain to give the nod.

“The UCI has always wanted Hong Kong to host a leg of the World Cup series. One leg is still available for the coming season. Once we announce our interest, the UCI is likely to satisfy our request,” said Leung Hung-tak.

“We need about HK$4 million from commercial interests and if we can’t sort this out, the officials will find another way to resolve it. Coupled with a matching fund of HK$4 million from the government’s M Mark fund, we are almost there in terms of a budget. Some expenses can be offset through other sources.”

The Hong Kong Velodrome in Tseung Kwan O is regarded as world class venue. photo: Jonathan Wong

The Hong Kong Velodrome in Tseung Kwan O is regarded as world class venue. photo: Jonathan Wong

“Hong Kong now has a world-class [velodrome] at Tseung Kwan O and it would be a big waste if we are not going to stage a world event there. This also lives up to the expectations of our elite athletes who have been excelling in recent years.”

The UCI has already awarded World Cup rounds to Cali, Colombia, for October 30-November 1, followed by Cambridge, New Zealand, on December 5-6.  UCI said it was holding discussions with organisers and would make an announcement shortly regarding the host of the third round, from January 16-17, 2016.

Staging a leg of the World Cup in January would also boost Hong Kong’s preparation for the summer 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“The World Cup is a major source of Olympic qualification points and in fact other than Sarah’s two sprinting events, we still have riders striving for points to make it to Rio,” said Leung.

Pint-sized Lee is a sprint specialist with major achievements including bronze in the keirin at the London Olympic Games and gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games.

“The event would help promote track cycling in the community, so we may be able to identify more talent for future development.”

Half of the events offering qualification for the Rio Games have been completed. The next three World Cup legs, coupled with the 2016 Asian and World Championships, are the only events left with qualification opportunities for Hong Kong to gain points for the women’s team pursuit and the two omnium events.

Source: South China Morning Post