APG2018: Cyclist Emily and pilot Sarah score road race bronze
09 October 2018
They collapsed after crossing the finishing line as team officials and medical support raced over to assist them. But thankfully Team Singapore cyclist Emily Lee Seok Bee and her pilot Sarah Tan Hui Zhen checked out fine.
At the Sentul International Circuit outside Jakarta, which is best known for hosting international motorsport races, the breakthrough the Republic was seeking finally came in the final race of the two-day programme.
It's another successful outing for Sarah Tan (pilot,front) and Emily Lee, who won a bagful of medals at the ASEAN Para Games last year. Photo: Sport Singapore
The women’s road race (B) required the riders to do 18 laps of the 4km circuit for a distance totalling 72km. And while the race under the hot sun was controlled by Malaysia, Emily and Sarah were left looking for opportunities to get away.
Said Sarah: “We were aiming for podium especially in a long race of that distance when anything can happen. We tried to break away a few times but weren’t successful. Eventually we took the chance and the medal was the result.
“I’m really proud of Emily, she worked very hard and went with the instructions given to her. She has strong will power and I think she can go far.”
This same duo enjoyed a successful outing last year at the ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur, bringing home a gold, three silver and a bronze across road and track events.
But winning at the next level is even more special.
Said Emily: “I want to thank the whole team, especially my coaches, my pilot Sarah and also the medical team.
Baking hot conditions at the Sentul International Circuit but pilot Sarah Tan could still afford a smile. Photo: Sport Singapore
“During the race, I just kept cool, stay focused on my breathing technique and not get too excited, and just kept listening to the instructions my pilot was giving me.
“I’m truly happy as this was my wish to come to the Games and come away with at least a medal. I will train harder and do better.”
It could well have been a silver medal had they not lost out to Indonesia in the final sprint after the Singapore duo were the first to make the break on the final lap.
Commented coach Athena Han: “With two laps to go everyone was very nervous and excited but they actually stayed calm and held on. So it was very good that they fought so hard, especially at the very end.
“The Indonesians had better strategy and it’s a local race for them after all, and they’re used to the venue and the weather.”
Added team manager Manaf Andi: “The girls broke away in the last lap and went for it. But it looks like the Indonesian had a bit more in their reserves and were able to overtake our girls for the silver.
“Cycling in this weather is a real challenge, compared to the conditions we train in back home. So this is a good exposure for our cyclists. I will need to tweak our training for future competitions.
“Tokyo 2020 is our goal, so I hope with these performances, we would be able to get the nod.”
In another result, Singapore’s Noor Iskandaria Mohd Dena finished fourth in the men’s 48km (12 laps) road race (H4-H5).
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