Fencers Ryan Choi and Albert Chien strike Asian team gold for Hong Kong
Ryan Choi and Albert Chien are part of the Asian team who win the mixed continental team event, beating a strong Europe side in the final
Hong Kong rejoiced in their first gold medal at a Youth Olympic Games yesterday after Ryan Choi Chun-yin and Albert Chien Kei-hsu joined four other Asian fencers to beat the Europeans in the mixed continental team event.
A day after Choi showed he was a force to be reckoned with by reaching the final of the individual foil where he was beaten by Andrzej Rzadkowski, the Hong Kong youngster gained sweet revenge on the Pole in the team event.
"Beating him is certainly a boost for me," Choi, 16, said. "He beat me in the individual but I know I am better than him. I couldn't prove it until today. With this victory, I am more confident for my future competitions."
Each team comprised six top fencers with one from each weapon in both genders. Choi and Chien formed the team "Asia-Oceania 1" with Karin Miyawaki (foil) and Misaki Emura (sabre) from Japan, and Kim Dong-ju (sabre) and Lee Sin-hee (epee) from South Korea.
The team beat "Europe 2" 30-29 in the semi-finals and then overcame "Europe 1" 30-26 for the gold medal.
In his leg of the team final - fencers were given three minutes on the piste - Choi defeated Rzadkowski 7-5, reversing his 17-15 loss in the individual the previous day.
Chien, who reached the quarter-final in men's epee, also contributed to the team total, despite losing his bout 2-1. Chien did well to limit individual gold medallist Esztergalyos Patrik from Hungary to two hits.
"I'm really happy to share the gold medals with other top fencers. He [Patrik] is stronger than me, so the team strategy in my turn was to not let him pull away in the score and let my teammates do the rest," said Chien.
Earlier, Hong Kong table tennis player Doo Hoi-kem was heartbroken to just miss out on gold, losing 4-1 to Liu Gaoyang of China, but coach Zhang Rui insisted silver was the first step towards a bright future.
"I feel OK with how I performed in this tournament, but not this match. I did not have adequate confidence. Maybe I was thinking too much about this battle with Liu," said Doo, 17.
Zhang said: "Doo still lacks experience of playing a final in a major tournament like this. She has never played in such a high level in the setting of the only table in the centre of the arena.
"Claiming a medal will boost her confidence. She will now compete in the Asian Games and next year's world championships, and I believe it will take about two to three years for her to reach the [senior elite] standard," said Zhang.
Double silver medallist Siobhan Haughey qualified for her third final, the 200m freestyle, but faded to sixth in 2:00.08 after turning at the halfway point in third.
She will race in the 50m freestyle heats this morning.
Hong Kong athletes have now won one gold and four silvers. Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, president of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee, said the results were beyond expectations. .
"The medals are all hard-earned for our athletes and I am really encouraged by their performance," said Fok.