Training pays off for medal-laden fencers
A well-designed training plan complemented by excellent performances helped Hong Kong to their best fencing result at an Asian Games, according coach Wang Ruiji.
With the men's team foil and women's team epee due to start tomorrow at Guangda Gymnasium, the fencers have already won two silver and two bronze medals.
Hong Kong collected four bronze medals at the last Asian Games in Doha and two just bronzes in all their previous Asiads.
'We underwent the best possible preparation,' Sports Institute head fencing coach Wang said.
'We set our sights on the Asian Games at the beginning of the year and brought the team to Guangzhou to train with the best fencers in our final preparation.
'The performances of Au Sin-ying and Cheung Siu-lun in the individual event were beyond our expectations. No one could have expected they would compete so well against the world's best fencers and get so close to winning gold medals for Hong Kong. Even if they failed at the last hurdle, no one can take away their honour of producing the best performances from Hong Kong fencers at an international event,' Wang said.
Au defeated former world champion and two-time Olympic medallist Tan Xue of China 15-8 in the women's sabre semi-finals before losing to South Korea's Kim Hye-lim in the final. Cheung upset world No 1 Lei Sheng of China in the men's foil 15-14, but was beaten by the same margin in the final by Choi Byung-chul. Yeung Chui-ling won a bronze medal in the women's individual epee.
'Au and Cheung were both on fire. Au showed great confidence when advancing into the knockout stage. Cheung's victory over Lei was exceptional as he showed no fear against a top-ranked fencer.'
Hong Kong won their fourth fencing medal yesterday when the women's sabre team defeated Japan 45-33 in the quarter-finals. They finished with a bronze after losing to China 45-29 in the following stage.
'I was under pressure because many people focused on me after I got the individual silver,' Au said. 'But I just tried to relax and not to think about the individual event.'