SIR Chris Hoy was not having a successful time at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne, Australia
By his own admission, it had been a “rollercoaster week” for the 36-year-old Scot. British team-mate Jason Kenny beat him in the sprint semi-final on Saturday, and Sir Chris barely made it through to the quarter finals the day before.
But when he took to the final of the keirin race yesterday, he took the meaning of the Japanese word – fight – to heart and pulled off an astonishing win in the final metres that bodes well for the Olympics this summer.
Even Sir Chris could not believe he successfully made what one commentator called a “crowbar” move between opponents for a photo finish.
He was congratulated by his father David and wife Sara, who bent down to kiss her winning husband who reached up to her from the track.
“World Champion!!! It’s been a rollercoaster week, just so happy to finish on a high. Still not sure how I made it through that gap!,” wrote Sir Chris on Twitter.
He said later: “If this is my last World Championships, and it might be, then what a way to finish.
“I’d given up – not physically, but I thought the chance of winning had gone by the time I hit the back straight with half a lap to go.
“Normally I’d go around the outside and put my foot down but I’d lost momentum. It was one last chance – I’ve never gone up the inside before in my life, it’s a real last-chance saloon. I couldn’t believe the door opened and I managed to get through. In some ways I’m very lucky, but very grateful to have won.
“World titles are all special, every single one you remember, but this is particularly special because it’s the last meaningful race I’ll have before the Olympic Games.
“It’s a great confidence boost and hopefully I’m showing my rivals I can win from any position.”
Despite the win, Sir Chris had struggled with the sprint event, which he won two months ago at a world cup meeting in London.
He started the week confidently, saying Australia felt like “a second home” after spending so much time training there.
But on the opening day of the championships at the Hisense Arena, Britain was disqualified from the team sprint event after initially qualifying in fourth. Britain is Olympic champion in the event – one of Sir Chris’s three golds in 2008 – but has failed to win a world title in the three-man, three-lap event since 2005.
Off the track in Australia, Sir Chris’s father hit out at difficulty in getting tickets to see his son at the London Olympics.
Directing his message to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, David Hoy said: “Please consider how you would feel if your son or daughter had worked for ten or 12 years and slaved, trained really hard, got to this level, and then you were told: ‘Really sorry, you’re going to have to sit and watch it at home’.
“Just imagine how you’d feel and do something about it, please.”