There were jubilant scenes in the Incheon velodrome yesterday as South Korea beat China to gold in the Asian Games men’s cycling team sprint, while Taiwan took bronze in the women’s team sprint.
The three-strong South Korea team — Son Je-yong, Im Chae-bin and Kang Dong-jin — qualified fastest, but China rode off to an early lead, pushing the pace in the first lap.
As the sun went down over the outdoor track, the crowd roared the home team on and South Korea rose to the challenge. Final rider Im, 22, took the race in 59.61 seconds, a third of a second ahead of the Chinese trio of Xu Chao, Hu Ke and Bao Saofei on 59.96 seconds.
China were defending their Asian Games title after winning in Guangzhou in 2010 with different riders.
The women’s team sprint was also a South Korea-China head-to-head, but the Chinese dominated.
Gong Jinjie and Zhong Tianshi beat their South Korea counterparts — Lee Hye-jin and Kim Wong-yeong — by more than a second in a convincing performance, with sprint ace Zhong leading the charge to the line to win in 43.876 seconds against South Korea’s 44.876.
Zhong, 23, already has a silver under her belt from the team sprint at this year’s World Championships, while veteran Gong, 27, took silver in the event at the London Olympics where she and Guo Shuang broke the world record. Zhong is also to race in the women’s keirin today. She is among the favorites to challenge Sarah Lee Wai-sze of Hong Kong, who is tipped for gold.
The Japanese men beat Iran for bronze in the men’s team sprint, while Taiwan took bronze in the women’s team sprint, edging out Japan. Taiwan’s Hsiao Mei-yu and Huang Ting-ying had a time of 45.389.
Additional reporting by CNA
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