World champion cyclist Wong Kam-po secured Hong Kong's first gold medal at the 11th National Games in Jinan yesterday.
The 36-year-old veteran defeated Ma Haijun of the People's Liberation Army by two seconds in the men's individual road race.
Golden boy Wong has been in the spotlight since he caught the eye of Wen Jiabao during the premier's 2007 visit to Hong Kong.
"You are a treasure more precious than gold - you are a world champion," the premier told Wong then.
The Kam-po in Wong's name literally means "gold and treasure."
He has not decided whether he will take part in the next National Games, at which he will be 40, saying he hoped a new generation of racers could take over.
Wong, a two-time gold and two-time bronze medalist in cycling events at the three previous National Games, defeated 73 competitors with his sprinting ability at the end of the grueling 205-kilometer road race.
Wong also said teamwork and strategy were the keys to bringing home gold and thanked his teammates for their efforts. He said an early break by 18-year-old Choi Ki-ho opened a gap of over one minute, leading the other cyclists to use up their energy which in turn gave him a better chance to break clear of the pack in the final kilometers.
Wong became the first Chinese world champion cyclist by winning the 15 km scratch in the 2007 UCI Track World Championships, earning the right to wear the Rainbow Jersey in 2007-08.
Wong has also competed at four Olympics between 1996 and 2008.
He was the only Chinese cyclist to participate in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing congratulated him, saying his outstanding achievement was the result of hard work and tenacity.
"We are all very proud of his excellent performance," said Tsang.
Hong Kong has so far collected one gold, one silver and three bronze medals at the Jinan games.
Thanks for The Standard report.