Team Hong Kong of China can win Olympic gold in Tokyo: cycling coach Shen Jinkang

Updated 2017-06-22 11:32:50 Xinhua

Cycling coach Shen Jinkang of team Hong Hong of China believes his team can win a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"As the 2020 Olympic Games approaching, I believe Lee Wai Sze can win a gold through hard training," Shen said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Shen, born in Shanghai in 1953, was selected into the Shanghai Cycling Team and within a year joined the cycling team of China. By the late 1970s, he was widely recognized as one of China's best cyclists on account of his outstanding competition results.

"My life was supposed to end. It is cycling that kept me moving forward, "said Shen, who lost his left leg in saving his teammate from an injury following a training accident in 1980.

Shen did not give up the cycling career that he has always ardently loved and decided to enroll as a college student on the third day after the accident, hoping to further develop cycling using his intellectual strength.

"There was no time to think too much, and life has to go on," said Shen, who entered into the Shanghai University of Sport and later pursued postgraduate studies at the Beijing Sport University.

He further showed his talent in cycling after being appointed as chief coach of China's men's cycling team and led the team to win the first Asian Games gold medal for China in Seoul in 1986.

In 1994, six months before the Asian Games in Hiroshima, Shen was invited to Hong Kong to be a guest coach. He was surprised by the insufficient training resources of the cycling team when he first arrived.

"We have no equipment, no training program and even no office to gather the cyclists. They have to meet at a convenience store and eat their breakfast along the way for training. Sometimes they even have to borrow jerseys for their race. It's totally unprofessional," said Shen.

He urged the Cycling Association of Hong Kong to make cyclists train full time. After three months of training, cyclist Wong Kam Po ranked 4th in the road race and missed a medal by only 4 seconds at the Asian Games in Hiroshima.

Winning the 4th place gave Wong more confidence and he set his eyes on the gold.

"To win the championship, then the next 4 years, you will have to ride 150,000 km, and also have to use one year for specialized training tactics, you won't have a holiday. Can you do that? " Shen asked.

"I can do it, as long as you are the coach, I will be your athlete," Wong answered.

Shen then accepted the position as head coach of the cycling team.

With his extensive connection with the mainland, Shen introduced a scientific training system, with talents such as coaches, sports scientists and physiotherapists to serve Hong Kong cyclists, thus improving their performance. It also made a great impact on the development of the sport in Hong Kong.

These improved resources nurtured cycling champions such as Wong Kam Po, Kwok Ho Ting, Cheung King Wai, Cheung King Lok, Wong Wan Yiu and Lee Wai Sze, among others.

After 23 years of coaching the cycling team of Hong Kong, Shen has not yet considered retirement. The 64 year-old coach still has one thing to fulfill -- to help Lee Wai Sze to get the gold in Tokyo 2020.

Lee won a bronze medal in the women's keirin on track cycling at the 2012 London Olympic Games, while only settled for the sixth place in 2016 Rio Olympics.

"Losing a medal is nothing. We should reset our goal and fight again," said Shen, who believes more young cyclists from China's Hong Kong will shine on the world stage within the next 20 years.

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