18 Aug - 2 Sep 2018

'I'll only get better': Lee warns Tokyo rivals after Asian Games gold

Hong Kong's Sarah Lee Wai-sze won the women's keirin and sprint events to finish off a

JAKARTA: Hong Kong's track cyclist champion Sarah Lee Wai-sze has warned her Tokyo 2020 rivals she will "only get better" after winning two gold medals at the Asian Games in Jakarta.

The 31-year-old Lee won the women's keirin and sprint events to finish off a tremendous week at the velodrome in Indonesia's capital, where she was also part of the silver-winning sprint team.

Lee - who now has five golds overall at the Asian Games - said she is feeling stronger than ever.

"I am doing good and will only get better in the next two to three years. I am very satisfied with my result at the Asian Games," Lee said.

"This is the start to my preparations of getting to a medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

"This win is very dear to me but I also hope that I can get an Olympic gold in 2020."

Lee, who won a keirin bronze at the London 2012 Olympics, was in top form at the continental games and raced to a tournament-record 10.583 seconds in the sprint qualifiers.

She easily got past her opponents in the heats and won the sprint final against South Korea's Lee Hye-jin in two straight races.

"This is what I expected but you don't know what happens on the day or in the race. But step by step I can only try my best and that's what I did," she said.

"I won two golds in Incheon and now again I did the same. So it's all heading in the right direction."


"I AM POWERFUL"

Initially trained as a road cyclist, Lee was in danger of bowing out of the sport after a serious accident in 2006 when she swerved to avoid a stray dog during training.

She suffered a fractured hand but came back stronger to win the 500m time trial track cycling event at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Critics have speculated about her retirement but Lee said she just keeps her head down and trains hard.

"I am happy with my ability and my decision to choose cycling (as a sport). And I can use this sport in my life as well," she said.

"I don't really look at others. I just concentrate on myself.

"I am powerful and I focus on my strengths. I just want to keep training hard and the results will come," she added.

Lee had to overcome anaemia, which caused her to tire easily, to become a full-time athlete in 2004, and there has been no looking back since.

As a devout Christian who studied theology, Lee credits her faith among several factors which have helped her to overcome difficulties in sport and in life.

She had a troubled time in October 2016 after the death of her long-time coach Pu Linjun, who was often called as "the man behind Lee".

"Many factors, like my team, my religion, my family and my friends help me overcome problems. All their support for me is very important," said Lee.

"I am proud of myself, my team, my coach and my people in Hong Kong."

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