INCHEON (AFP) – Hong Kong’s Olympic medal-winning track cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze took gold in the women’s individual sprint Thursday in a dramatic third-race decider against Chinese star Zhong Tianshi.
Zhong just edged the first race and looked to have won the second but was then relegated for entering the sprinter’s lane when Lee was already there.
The third race saw 23-year-old Zhong pull ahead with half a lap to go but this time Lee, 27, managed to stay with her and push through to take her second gold of the competition.
Lee had already beaten Zhong into bronze in the keirin but the Chinese sprint specialist — who won silver in the individual sprint at this year’s world championships — was always going to be a serious challenger.
Lee’s own form had been in question after she left the worlds empty-handed.
Zhong set off ahead in the first race which saw a tense cat and mouse at the start, with both zig-zagging the velodrome before the Chinese rider pushed for victory at the start of the second lap.
Lee tailed close and tried to edge Zhong out off the final bend, but she held on for victory by half a wheel.
The second race saw a similar contest with Zhong again crossing the line first after a close ride.
But with Zhong’s relegation, the Hong Kong hero was given a second chance at gold in the decider and she took it with both hands.
Zhong tailed Lee in the slow first lap and caught her early in the second, ramping up the pace and pulling in front.
But Lee stayed with her as they battled neck-and-neck into the home straight before a final push which saw her take a convincing win.
A beaming Lee punched the air and celebrated by waving to the crowd draped in a Hong Kong flag.
In the men’s keirin final, Iran’s 20-year-old Mohammad Danesh Varkhourram stole a surprise victory for the nation’s only gold of the tournament.