The Thai Cycling Association is to send rising star Jai Angsuthasawit into a series of tournaments with the aim to helping qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
TCA president Decha Hemkrasi said the road to the global sports extravaganza would depend on Jai’s results at six World Cup events from October 2018 to January 2019, the 2019 World Cup Track meet in Poland, the 2019 Asian Championships in Indonesia, World Cup events from October 2019 to January 2020, the Asian Championships in 2020 and the World Championships in 2020.
The 23-year-old Thai-Australian was the toast of the town after winning Asian Games gold in the keirin, the first Thai to ever win the event in Asiad history.
However, Decha said Jai’s priority would be to be among the top 36 riders in order to qualify for the World Cup in France in October 2019.
Despite his latest win in a tournament in China last week, Jai is only world-ranked 69 in keirin.
“Too bad that his ranking is not high enough as the tournament in China was just a small event,” said Decha.
“Most of the Olympics qualification tournaments are in Europe with only the World Cup in Hong Kong and Asian Championships being scheduled in Asia.
“It was very unfortunate that he had a fall at a competition in Hong Kong earlier this year, which forced him to skip several events. Otherwise he would have had better rankings.”
Meanwhile Jai said of his recent win in China, his second straight triumph after the Asian Games: “I go and race, no matter what the level of the competition. I approach it the same as any other race. I just try my best.
“I don’t want to approach a race thinking about what I have already achieved. I think about what I can do next.”