Date
22 July 2017
Sarah Lee (left) races against Germany's Kristina Vogel on Tuesday. Inset: Lee cries on the shoulder of her coach, Jinkang Shen, after the match. Photos: Reuters, TVB
Sarah Lee (left) races against Germany's Kristina Vogel on Tuesday. Inset: Lee cries on the shoulder of her coach, Jinkang Shen, after the match. Photos: Reuters, TVB

Sarah Lee says emotional pain worse than physical injury

Hong Kong’s track cycling star Sarah Lee said the physical pain of the injury she suffered in Saturday’s keirin crash is nothing compared to the emotional wound, public broadcaster RTHK reports.

“My heart hurts more than my wound,” Lee told reporters at the Olympic Velodrome after her defeat to Kristina Vogel in the women’s sprint competition on Tuesday, dashing her hopes to win a medal in Rio 2016.

“Physical pain is nothing. You asked me on Saturday if I was hurting after the crash, I said no. But in my heart I used a long time to accept the crash.”

She placed sixth in the women’s sprint, her second and final event at the Games.

With one lap to go in the keirin semifinal on Saturday, Australia’s Anna Meares made contact with Lee which caused the Hong Kong star to lose balance and crash out of the contest.

Lee held back tears as she reflected on the accident.

“I never thought I would leave here with nothing. I can’t accept that it all ended because of a crash. But I know it’s part of competition. I was shocked that such an experienced rider would cause an accident. I know she was trying hard to win.”

Earlier, Lee and her coaching team acknowledged the crash was accidental and there was no case for launching a complaint.

“I was angry of course,” Lee said. “But Anna and I are still friends. We’ve had lots of interaction in these years of competition.”

Lee revealed that the knee injury she suffered from the crash had kept her from sleeping well in the past few nights.

The cut on her right knee was covered by a prescribed ointment during her sprints on Tuesday.

She said the pain kept her from hitting full stride in the sprint competition where her podium hopes were ended by two losses to Vogel.

“It’s been hard to sleep. My brain isn’t working right and that affected my decision making on the track,” Lee said.

Lee said she wanted to thank Hong Kong people for their support.

“Sometimes when I’m down I go online and read people’s supportive comments. That really helped. I’m always afraid of negative press. I fear people would say I’m too proud or find something bad to say about me. I’m glad none of that happened.”

Coach Shen Jinkang said she is still good for the next Olympics, although Lee herself has not said for sure if she’ll compete in Tokyo 2020.

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AC/CG

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