Hong Kong and China are expected dominate the action in the Hero Cycles 33rd Senior and 20th Junior Asian cycling championships, which will begin here on Thursday. The event will feature track and road races at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Cycling Velodrome (March 7 to 11) and the Buddh International Circuit (March 13 to 17), respectively.

The championship has already courted controversy due to the delay in issuing visas to cyclists from China and Iran.

At the last edition in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong topped the tally with 13 medals, including six golds.

The Indian team will be represented by 35 male and 19 female cyclists. Four of them participated in the recently concluded World track championships in Minsk, Belarus. It was India’s only second participation in the global event, after the team made its debut last year in Melbourne. The trio of Amarjeet Singh, Amrit Singh and Bikram Singh in team sprint and Chandrasekar Rajesh in the scratch race accumulated 50 points for the Indians in Minsk.

Indian team coach Amar Singh said: “Everything is ready and all the cyclists are fit. The opening day will be important since our riders will compete across various events. In the junior events, we hope to win some medals.”

The coach says he expects his charges to do well in the Team sprint event on Monday. Deborah (7.5 km scratch) and Sunita Devi (3km individual pursuit) will be among the other competitors in action on the first day of the championship.

The competition will also feature London Olympics triple medallist Guo Shuang of China and Hong Kong’s Wai Sze Lee, who won the bronze medal in women’s keirin at the 2012 Games. Shuang also won a silver last month in Minsk.

2010 World Championship silver medallist Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia will be a major attraction in the men’s keirin event.

The cyclists at the continental event stand to gain qualifying points for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

However, riders from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq are unlikely to feature at the championship as their visas are yet to be cleared.

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