SASI riders shine at Hong Kong world titles
20 Apr 2017
South Australian cyclists again performed strongly on the world stage as members of the victorious Australian team at the recent UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong.
South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) riders Rohan Wight and Alex Porter won a world championship in the team pursuit which beat New Zealand and Italy. SASI's Stephanie Morton, who suffered a hairline fracture in her arm at the national titles about six weeks ago, also produced her best results at a world title. She finished the titles with silver medals in the team sprint (with Kaarle McCulloch) and individual sprint. She also finished fourth in the keirin for her best result in that discipline at a world title.
On the final day SASI's Callum Scotson teamed with Cameron Meyer to win silver in the 200-lap Men's Madison.
The SASI riders helped guide Australia to the top of the ladder with 11 medals, (three gold, five silver, three bronze) with Russia in second place with six medals.
Morton, 26, said she was proud of her results and those of her teammates.
''It just shows what it means to put on the green and gold,'' she said.
''To top the medal count and to have eight debutants on the team was just fantastic.
''In elite sport there are no guarantees but we have all put in so much hard work since Rio and to get those results was great.
''We had a close-knit team and I guess for a couple of people there was a bit of redemption after Rio. And our SASI riders were great again, it just shows the depth of cycling South Australia.''
Morton, who showed enormous courage to compete strongly after her bad injury at the nationals, said she felt no pain from her fall and felt she was in good shape. She was looking forward to a short break and keeping an eye on her beloved Western Bulldogs in the AFL before she cranks up training again with a busy season ahead.
Wight and Porter, both in Italy for training and racing, were thrilled to be a part of the outstanding Australian team.
''It was an awesome experience for sure,'' Wight said.
''Both Alex and I raced the team pursuit where we won and became world champions. The race is run over three rounds, qualifying, a semi final and then medal ride offs. Alex raced all three rounds and I rode in the semi final. Alex also raced the scratch race and finished but it was pretty tough for him as it started 10 minutes after his team pursuit final!''
Wight, along with Porter and Morton, said the Hong Kong crowd was fantastic.
''It was an amazing atmosphere over there with massive crowds every night of racing,'' Wight said.
''The level of competition was also so much higher than anything I've experienced before so that was new for me. It was great to be a part of the Australian team there as well, as not only was it a highly successful group, it was also a supportive environment and I think that made a huge difference overall.''
The Hong Kong event was Wight's first senior world championship and first gold medal. For Porter it was his second world championships and second gold medal after he won the team pursuit last year also.
Wight and Porter will train and race in Italy for the next three weeks. They will then travel to Belgium for a few months for more racing.