Cycling's big chance

Cycling's big chance
National cyclists Low Ji Wen and Noel Teh, at the sidelines of a safe cycling programme they helped conduct at the Jamiyah Children's Home.

The sport of cycling has gained much traction in the Republic in recent years and, while June's Southeast Asia (SEA) Games is a big opportunity to further raise its profile, a home Games comes with its own pressures.

"Even at the best of times, the (national) target of 50 gold medals is not an easy one. The best athletes cannot mess up, they must keep everything in check and cannot falter with all the external pressures," said cyclist Low Ji Wen, speaking on the sidelines of the Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) safe cycling programme event at the Jamiyah Children's Home yesterday.

The sport will bank on Dinah Chan, who struck gold at in the individual time trial at the Myan- Cycling's big chance mar Games in 2013, and achieved a commendable fourth in the same event and 10th in the road race at the Incheon Asian Games last year.

Gold is a realistic target for Chan, but her male counterparts have a more modest aim.

While Serene Lee and Chan lead the women's charge, there are 11 men vying for six spots in the road race team.

"We're looking for a bronze in the road race, mainly because there is a tough field in the individual time trial, with Thailand and Malaysia boasting good sprinters. We've got (a stable of ) mainly endurance riders," said SCF general manager, Mahipal Singh.

"We really do need a reason to celebrate. If Dinah delivers - and the men too - it'll be great for the sport, can inspire young athletes and give us something to work with."

The cyclists have just returned from a training stint in Ipoh.

They have another stint lined up in March, also in Malaysia, followed by two centralised training camps.

First up will be the Asian Cycling Championships in Thailand next month, when the men will be looking for good times.

"We had a really good training camp in Ipoh, where we trained between six and seven hours each day," said Noel Teh, who is aiming to make the team for this year's SEA Games.

"There's always pressure to win in your home country, but we're taking it in our stride and just working hard."

This article was first published on January 27, 2015.
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