Hong Kong leg of track cycling world cup leg to go ahead amid unrest

South China Morning Post 發布於 2019年11月14日07:11 • Chan Kin-wa kinwa.chan@scmp.com
  • Hong Kong hosts the last leg of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup series
Sarah Lee Wai-sze races at the Hong Kong Velodrome in Tseung Kwan O in March this year. Photo: Winson Wong

The UCI Track Cycling World Cup Hong Kong leg at Tseung Kwan O velodrome will go ahead as scheduled despite nearby areas being among the worst affected by anti-government protests.

The 2,000-seat venue, which will stage leg three of the six-round series and also acts as Olympic qualifiers, is located next to Sheung Tak car park where a university student reportedly fell during a police dispersal operation last week and later died of his injuries.

"We have no plan to change the schedule," said Alex Wong Chi-yu, executive director of Hong Kong Cycling Association, which is organising the event. "The international federation has expressed their concern about the situation in Hong Kong as all the world's top riders will feature in the three-day event, but we have assured them the riders are unlikely to be exposed to too much danger caused by trouble in the area, if any.

Hong Kong Velodrome has been a landmark on some march routes during the civil unrest, which has engulfed the city. Photo: Handout

"The riders will stay in nearby hotels and the velodrome is accessible through footbridges," said Wong.

"We can also prepare shuttle buses if they don't want to walk and the distance is not too far away. The riders' and workers' safety always comes first."

The Hong Kong leg, to be held from November 29 to December 1, is the third round of the season after Minsk and Glasgow.

Wong said the priority was to ensure riders can travel to and from the hotel and the venue safely, without delays or problemsAlex Wong Chi-yu, executive director of Hong Kong Cycling Association

All riders must take part in at least three rounds for their result to count towards Tokyo Olympics qualification.

Wong said Australia, who did not send their top women's sprinters to the first two rounds, have entered the Hong Kong leg. Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch, both potential threats to Hong Kong's Sarah Lee Wai-sze at the Olympics, are likely to lead their challenge.

Lee, meanwhile, returned home from Glasgow on Tuesday, saying she hoped the social unrest would end soon.

Hong Kong's Sarah Lee wins sprint gold in Glasgow World Cup leg

"The World Cup may not be the most important thing for the riders. The most important thing is safety and hopefully it can be resolved as soon as possible," she said.

Lee, who suffered a crash in the women's keirin second round in Glasgow and failed to reach the final, said a similar experience at the 2016 Rio Games helped her come back confidently and win the sprint the following day.

"There were injuries on my hand, shoulder and hip after the crash but it did not affect my performance in the sprint as I went through the same thing at the 2016 Olympics," she said. "It was a good experience as I also see the performance of some young German riders and they are quite good."

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