Hong Kong's Sarah Lee Wai-sze sounded another warning to her Olympic rivals after capturing gold in the women's sprint at the Japan Cup, a timely rehearsal for next year's Tokyo Games.
With 11 months left to the sporting extravaganza, Lee competed against the world's top sprinters, all of whom were on a fact-finding trip to Izu Peninsula where the Olympic track cycling events will take place. Izu, of Shizuko prefecture, is about a two-hour drive south of Tokyo.
And the Hong Kong rider, who clinched the sprint and keirin world titles earlier this year, showed no mercy to her opponents.
She topped the 200 metre qualifiers in a time of 10.638 seconds, just a little shy of her Asian record of 10.571 before going all the way through to the final where she outclassed Stephanie Morton, of Australia, for the gold.
Hong Kong's Sarah Lee Wai-sze clinches double at cycling worlds
Lee won the best-of-three tie 2-0 as she repeated her victory overthe Australian rider from the world championships in Poland in March. Veteran Simona Krupeckaite, of Lithuania, won the bronze after overcoming 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medallist Katy Marchant, of England.
The three-day Japan Cup is being held in Izu's Keirin Training School, a newly built venue and two kilometres from the Olympic velodrome, which is under renovation for next year's showpiece.
"I think the top riders came here for the opportunity of getting used to the conditions as the Olympic Games will take place at a similar time here next year," Hong Kong coach Shen Jinkang said. "We will also stay here and not at the athletes' village in Tokyo during the Games and therefore it is a good opportunity to check out things."
Lee did not take part in the keirin, won by Lee Hye-jin, of South Korea, but another Hong Kong rider, Jessica Lee Hoi-yan finished second, ahead of Marchant.Both Lees will start in the Japan Cup II during the weekend.
Jessica Lee and Sarah Lee are chasing Olympic qualification, with the last five rounds - out of 10 - set to start during the World Cup series in November.
Other Hong Kong riders also achieved good results in Izu. Yang Qianyu and Pang Yao were second in the women's madison while Leung Chun-wing secured a bronze in the men's omnium. In the junior events, Ching Yin-shan won gold in the girls' scratch while Li Ka-hei finished second in the boys' scratch.
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