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Giving track a go

SINGAPORE — Cyclist Dinah Chan’s quest for a place in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro could gain greater clarity after next weekend’s 2014 Hong Kong International Track Cup (Jan 10-12).

SINGAPORE — Cyclist Dinah Chan’s quest for a place in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro could gain greater clarity after next weekend’s 2014 Hong Kong International Track Cup (Jan 10-12).

The 27-year-old has accepted an invitation from Track Cycling Western Australia to be their guest rider for the international meet which will raise the curtains on Hong Kong’s newly-completed HK$600 million (S$98 million) Tseung Kwan O Velodrome.

The three-day event is set to feature 170 riders from Asia, Europe and Australia and has been given a Class One designation by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Three weeks ago in Naypyidaw, Chan ended Singapore’s 16-year gold medal drought in cycling at the SEA Games by winning the women’s 30km individual time trial.

Having achieved her initial target of a gold medal at the biennial regional Games, Chan is now mulling over a multi-year cycling road map that will hopefully lead her to the Olympics in 2016 and the pathway remains open as to whether this will be achieved via road or track racing.

TCWA Chairman Murray Hall believes that track cycling offers Chan better chances of making it to Rio, having hosted the Singapore rider last July at the SpeedDome in Perth.

During the month-long stint, Chan trained with and raced against Australian cyclists as part of her lead-up to the SEA Games and Hall was impressed by how easily she took to riding in a velodrome despite coming from a country that does not have such a facility.

“What I saw from Dinah was really impressive and you can tell if they have the legs for it,” said 60-year-old Hall, who won silver medals for Australia in the 4km team pursuit and 10-mile scratch race at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand. “When I saw her here, during training and races, you could tell she has good track sense and she reads the race and the opposition well.

“You could also tell she was dedicated to the cause and really wanted to do well, so I was not surprised that she won the SEA Games gold medal.”

That was why Hall did not hesitate to invite Chan to ride for his team in Hong Kong, even before she left for December’s SEA Games, believing she has the potential to be a top endurance rider on track.

“I’ve signed her up for the elite women’s scratch (10km) and points (20km) races and hope she can be persuaded to try out the 3km individual pursuit,” Hall told TODAY.

“In my eyes, if she gets a good result, then the question is who will step up to help her get to the next level, as she will need proper support and planning to get to the UCI events so that she can qualify for the Olympics.”

For Chan, going to Hong Kong will give her a better idea of where she stands among the elite riders in Asia.

“I miss riding on track, it’s really fun,” said Chan, who admitted she was surprised to receive Hall’s invitation and has no expectations for next weekend’s meet.

“Murray’s only condition when he asked me to join his team was that I am physically fit — and I’m back to training after giving myself a break after the SEA Games.

“My immediate focus this year is the Asian Cycling Championship in Kazakhstan in May and to qualify for September’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.”


OCBC Singapore Pro Team riders Calvin Sim and Ang Kee Meng will also be participating in the men’s elite scratch (15km) and points (30km) races next week in Hong Kong.

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