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Hong Kong's fearsome fencers tough to foil

Updated: 2023-09-21 07:58
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Olympic champion Cheung Ka-long, pictured during the Chengdu World University Games, is aiming to win Hong Kong, China its first-ever Asian Games fencing gold medal in Hangzhou. CHINA DAILY

Spearheaded by Olympic champion, SAR primed for more glory at Asiad

Hong Kong is one of the smaller Asian Games teams in terms of its delegation size, but when it comes to fencing the city is a regional heavyweight with ambitious medal hopes.

Cheung Ka-long won gold at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games two years ago — Hong Kong's first Olympic fencing title and first Olympic gold in any sport after China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997.

It turned Cheung into a celebrity overnight and prompted parents across the Chinese territory of 7.5 million people to rush and sign their children up for fencing classes.

Cheung's historic win in the foil competition was a much-needed dose of good news for a city dealing with pandemic gloom at the time.

With more funding and public attention as a result, Cheung and his teammates now hope to stamp their mark on the Hangzhou Asian Games, which open on Saturday.

Despite a strong record at recent editions, including eight medals in the sport in 2018, Hong Kong is yet to win fencing gold at the Asian Games.

"No matter for individual or team events, I hope we can (win gold at last)," Cheung, 26, said.

The special administrative region will have 24 fencers — 12 women and 12 men — competing at the Games.

Another gold-medal contender is 29-year-old Vivian Kong, who is ranked No 2 in the world in women's epee.

There is also Ryan Choi, who along with Cheung was part of the Hong Kong, China team that won bronze in the men's team foil at the world championships in July.

Cheung said the team has "improved greatly" since the 2018 Games in Jakarta.

The left-hander, who has recovered from a recent wrist injury, told AFP he wanted to "prove to our competitors they need to beware of us".

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