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2017 / NO.1
2017 / NO.1
Cycling Team - Chasing the wind

    In October 2016, a promising star Lao Long San was crowned champion in the Junior Men's Points Race in the ACC Track Asia Cup, and he has written a new chapter in the Macao's cycling history. Aside from this, the cycling team has spotted two young and talented cyclists, Ieong Chi Son and Ao Hoi Ian, who only aged 16. Ieong and Ao have won a silver and bronze medal respectively in the category Junior of Track Cycling in the Asian Track Cycling Championship, and they have built a new milestone for the cycling field in Macao. In 4 months' time, Macao's cycling team has reached the stage of international competitions, and this has proved the efforts contributed by the coach and the athletes so far. Cheang Kuok Hang, who took over the place of the chairman of Cycling General Association of Macau 5 years ago, said, “I believe these young cyclists can go and reach further. I can see the fire inside their hearts with  brave and unyielding attitudes in competitions.”

    10 years ago, track cycling and road cycling were not the major development of the Cycling General Association of Macau. At that time, indoor artistic cycling arose significantly because of the ability of winning medals. In 2010 and 2011, Wong Hang Cheong and Kuan Sok Mui obtained bronze medals in the World Indoor Cycling Championships and became popular in the cycling field in Macao. Unfortunately, there were no young athletes entering the artistic cycling field anymore. Later, after the election in the Association in 2012, the newly elected management group intended to carry out revolution. Cheang Kuok Hang started to group the training team which only exists in name only, but had not practiced systemically from a long time. Cheang said, “Actually, I didn't do anything special. I just tried to develop it based on the foundation. However, I have to admit that it really starts from zero to rebuild the training team. With the cease of the training for a few years, the athletes are no longer participating. Fortunately, with the support of people from the Cycling field in Macao, the training team has been built gradually. In recent 2 years, the Association has hired an experienced coach, Choi Chon Meng, from Hong Kong. He has brought a more professional, systematical and scientific training mode. The stamina and the techniques of the athletes have been improved a lot, and the training mode has gradually connected with standards of Asia.

    Seeing a new start of the training team and the result that it gained, Cheang honestly said that the improvement is faster than what he expects. He said, “Whether it is the persistence the athletes show during the training or the courage of not giving up in the competition have moved me a lot. Moreover, their amount of training isn’t light. They practice 6 days per week, and 5 to 6 hours per day. They have spent twice of the time longer than the amateur cyclists have. Basically, their training mode is what the professional athletes have.

    Speaking of the future development of cycling, Cheang hopes to invest more on the training on teenagers. He said, “On one hand, we organize better local events to attract more people to join cycling and spot talented teenagers. On the other hand, I hope that we can promote cycling in schools and recruit students who are interested in it. At the same time, I am going to manage the training team well to fight for a better result in order to let teammates who are under high tension of training and willing to accept it to see the target.”

    Although the Sports Bureau has greatly supported the Association in recent years, and has put lot of resources to meet the need of the Association in both soft and hard aspects, Cheang points out that the training ground is still a problem hard to solve.  He said, “We are lacking of training ground. Roads with potential dangers are not suitable for training. Our current arrangement is that we have trainings in Hong Kong on weekends. 

    3 historical medals are all from the Track Cycling. Cheang honestly said that he gives a high priority in Track Cycling. He said, “As I know, our competitiveness will not be inferior compared with those of other countries and regions which are also lacking of training ground. I believe that Macao athletes can even compete and win other cyclists who have more resources on the training grounds.”

Lao Long San and Yeong Chi Son devoted to cycling

    Lao Long San and Yeong Chi Son, who joined the training program of cycling at the same time, have written a new chapter for the track cycling history in Macao. Lao was crowned champion in Category Junior Men's Points Race in the ACC Track Asia Cup, having the zero point breakthrough. Yeong received the silver medal in 10km in Men's Scratch of the Junior Track Race in the Asian Track Cycling Championship, and this is the first medal won in the Asian Track Cycling Championship in the team's history.

    Lao Long San, who is under 19, has been a full-time athlete for almost a year. He honestly said that he has given up much for this, and put up with enormous stress, but has also gained a lot from this.  Consequently, whether being an athlete is worthwhile cannot be measured in such a way. He said, “My life is occupied with training every day. I have given up all the entertainments that the youngsters have, and I have had more and more injuries. However, I believe that everything is worthwhile when I am able to do what I like.”

    From this year onwards, Lao Long San is no longer in the Junior Category, and he is facing larger competitiveness from the new category. The challenge that he is facing is also unpredictable; however, Lao only wants to focus on the goal in front of him. He said, “I hope I could have a great result in the U23 Road Race. At present, I haven't thought of ceasing. Once I have chosen this, I don't want to give up, and I will try my very best to go further.”

    Yeong Chi Son, who first experienced cycling when he was 15, initially just considered cycling as a leisure activity with friends. Later, with a strong interest in cycling, Ieong participated in the first league match in his life and got a good result in the junior category. He said directly, “I had great satisfaction from that league. Later, the current teaching assistant invited me to join the training team. I think that I am really capable of developing in the cycling field.”

    For the Asian Track Cycling Championship held at the beginning of the year, Yeong, without ideal academic results, decided to leave school in April last year. Even if he has returned to school in the new scholastic year, the 4 months' time on the training completely caused disagreement from his family. He said, “The silver medal has meant a lot to me, and this gives the recognition to what I have done in these two years, and this is also the motive which pushes me forward.” However, with such achievement in cycling, Yeong's family still wants him to finish his secondary school before he has plans for what he will do for the future. Ieong also said that he will work harder to make a balance between training and school work. At this moment, he is looking forward to the National Championship held in May.

The competitive spirit has made who Au Hai Ian is

    After the reorganization of the bicycle training team, 2 groups of members have been replaced. 8 main representative members and athletes from the minor training teams form a group of around 20 in the bicycle training team. Recently, Au Hai Ian, the only female player in the team, has proved herself by winning a second runner-up in the Women's Scratch at the 2017 Asian Track Cycling Championship held in India. She is the first female cyclist from Macao who won the first medal. With a only 3-month training in the track race, Au has shared her experience about the quick achievement, “Maybe because I am competitive and aggressive. If there is something I want to do, I will keep working hard on it until I achieve it.”

    Au has felt the excitement in cycling from her father who has a great passion in bicycle since she was very little. She started to participate in competition for the first time at the age of 8. She said, “When I was young, I was very delighted to group with my dad and joined the family competition. Later, owing to improving my physical health, I always rode bicycles with my friends, and this is how I cultivated the interest in cycling. I always believe that girls do not necessarily only have activities requiring less physical exercise, such as drawing, piano and dancing. I love sports and I believe what boys can do can also be done by me. I like to challenge myself.”

    Before being selected into the training team, Au followed her father to constantly join the bicycle races held in Macao, and her excellent results attracted the intention of Cycling General Association of Macau. After convinced by her coach, Au joined the training team officially in November last year. Through participating in the mountain bike, road cycling to track cycling, and with the 3-month short training, Au does not only set foot on Asian Track Cycling Championship, but also gets the medal of second runner-up. Cycling, what Au has chosen, changes her as well. She said, “Cycling has made me a more independent person. When I face difficulties in my life, I will encourage myself. I can overcome the harsh training in cycling; therefore, I can also get over other difficulties.”

    Currently being a Form 4 student, Au needs to deal with daily practice and study in high school. She honestly said that there was a moment that she wanted to be a full-time cyclist and focused on practicing. She said, “I considered being a full-time cyclist. However, I am the biggest among my 3 little sisters. I cannot be that capricious, so I put down that thought very soon. Although I am not going to be a full-time athlete, I am having the same attitude as other professional athletes are to pursue my dream. Now, my target is to participate in the Asian Games.”