Bowling them over: Leung Yuk-wing strikes boccia gold for Hong Kong at Paralympic Games
The two-time nominee for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards overcame Samuel Andrejcik of Slovakia 4-3 in a closely contested final
Bowler Leung Yuk-wing put sparkle in an otherwise disappointing day for Hong Kong at the Paralympic Games by winning a boccia gold medal on Friday.
After a mediocre fifth place in the mixed pairs (BC4), Leung, a two-time nominee for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards, saved his best for the last as he overcame Samuel Andrejcik of Slovakia 4-3 in a closely contested final.
It was the second gold medal for Hong Kong in Rio after swimmer Tang Wai-lok won the men’s 200 metre freestyle.
Leung has been a veteran of the Paralympics despite his age, clinching his first gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games and a sliver in Beijing four years later.
“I feel very happy to get a gold this time,” said Leung. “I did not win anything at the 2012 London Games and so I had to review my performance and worked hard again.
“Two years later I got two golds in the world championships and now I have made it again in the Rio Paralympics.
“I am so happy. The final was not easy as I was trailing two points in the first game, but fortunately I was able to get back to the table point by point.”
— Boccia Radio (@JackRadio2016) September 16, 2016
The women’s foil fencing team, meanwhile, were twice beaten by one point before losing out on a medal at Carioca Arena 3.
The trio of Yu Chui-yee, Chan Yui-chong and Justine Charissa Ng won both their matches in the pool stage to reach the semi-finals where they were narrowly beaten 41-40 by Hungary.
In the bronze medal match, they fell short again, losing 45-44 to Italy, the same team they beat 45-43 in the pool stage.
The men’s foil team featuring Tam Chik-sum, Chan Wing-kin and Cheong Meng-chai suffered a similar fate, beaten 45-43 by France in the bronze medal match.
Watch: Wheelchair fencing highlights
The disappointing results ended Hong Kong’s gold medal winning streak in wheelchair fencing.
The sport has been a traditional stronghold for Hong Kong at the Paralympics, winning at least one gold medal in each Games since 2004 in Athens.
Retired fireman Cheung Wai-leung also lifted four gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Hong Kong collected three wheelchair fencing medals in Rio, with two silvers in the women’s individual foil from Yu and the team epee, while Chan Yu-chong came third in the women’s individual epee.
The wait goes on: Hong Kong in danger of failing to win a Paralympic fencing gold after losing out to China
Yu has won the most Paralympic medals, with 11 under her belt, including seven golds, since her debut in 2004.
In archery, Choi Yuen-lung was beaten in the women’s individual compound – open when she lost 141-130 to Lin Yueshan of China in the round of 16.
Hong Kong’s last chance to strike gold in Rio comes on Saturday when swimmer Tang takes to the water in the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in the men’s 200 metre individual medley (class SM14).