Hong Kong's Wong Kam-po wins third National Games road cycling

09:27, October 27, 2009      

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By sportswriter Wang Yanlin

Veteran cyclist Wong Kam-po sprinted in the end of a 201-kilometer route and powered home to win Hong Kong's the first gold medal Monday at the 11th Chinese National Games.

It is also Wong's third gold medal in the road cycling event in four National Games.

"The route is a typical mountain road," Hong Kong team coach, Shen Jinkang, said. "It is more difficult than all the previous National Games and any other one-day race of inter-continental competitions."

Only 34 cyclists out of 74 completed Monday's race which was filled with hills and crosswind.

Wong finished in five hours 35 minutes and nine seconds, two seconds faster than second-placed Ma Haijun of Chinese Army. Li Fuyu from host Shandong Province took the third with 5:35:12.

"It is my last National Games," the 36-year-old Wong said after the journey, who still looks to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.

"I think I will retire after the London Olympics, and I hope Hong Kong's young cyclists may catch up and get more medals in the future," he said.

Fifteen years ago, 21-year-old Wong joined Hong Kong Cycling Team.

"He is fat at that time, and missed the gold age for training," recalled Shen. "But he loves cycling very much. Cycling is part of his life."

Wong was the only one who wanted to join the team. Shen recalled that he found with surprise that there was no professional cyclist in Hong Kong Cycling team when he first went there to coach.

"So I have to post advertisement saying 'Anyone aged 15 to 30 who loves cycling can be enrolled', but finally only Wong came."

To make Wong qualified for the sports, Shen said that the training for him was like hell -- riding 150,000 kilometers in four years. "But he survived at last, due to the passion for cycling. All these years I only give him time off once, but he rides every day during his vacation."

Under the guidance of Shen, Wong won medals in about thirty three matches, home and abroad. Before today, he has been crowned in two National Games back in 1997 and 2001, becoming the first in Hong Kong delegation to capture a gold at the National Games.

It is also the first gold medal for Hong Kong delegation at this year's National Games.

"I knew he always wanted the first gold, after he failed last Wednesday on men's points race," said Shen, referring to the final in which Wong finished ninth and his teammate Guo Haoting ended up sixth due to team work mistakes.

"After men's points race that day, Guo cried over the loss, and I always felt guilty about that," said Wong. "Yesterday I picked up his number cloth and wore it under the rider's jersey in today's race, to remind me not to lose again."

Source: Xinhua
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