Hong Kong fencer Cheung Ka-long qualifies for Rio Games
18-year-old grabs spot in men’s individual foil at qualification tournament in Wuxi, China to join Lin Po-heung and Kong Man-wai in city’s team for Olympics
Youngster Cheung Ka-long has clinched a spot at the Rio Olympics after winning a zone qualification tournament on Tuesday.
But Hong Kong will send a team of only three fencers to the Games this summer – half the number that represented the city at the London Games four years ago.
Cheung, a promising 18-year-old competitor, grabbed the only spot going in the men’s individual foil at the tournament in Wuxi, China after defeating Ou Feng-ming of Taiwan 15-4 in the final.
“My target was to represent Hong Kong at the Rio Olympics and now it’s like a dream come true,” said a delighted Cheung. “It has been quite a nervous period after knowing I had to compete in the zonal qualification.
“Even if I had achieved a high world ranking, I still had to prove it on the court.”
With fellow fencers from China and South Korea occupying high positions in the rankings, Cheung, who is 24th in the world, still had to go through the zonal qualification.
Joining Cheung in Rio will be Lin Po-heung, who won one of the three women’s individual foil spots available in Wuxi, and Kong Man-wai, who qualified in the women’s sabre by virtue of her Olympic qualification ranking.
There is no team event in the women’s foil at the Rio Games and therefore more than one spot was available at the zonal qualifiers.
Hong Kong fencers who failed to make it through the qualifiers were Au Sin-ying, who finished third in the women’s individual sabre, with only one spot available, while Lam Hin-chung and Fong Kiu lost in the men’s individual sabre and epee respectively.
“We had six in London four years ago but other Asian nations are catching up with big investment in fencing in recent years,” said Wong Tsan, the treasurer of the Asian Fencing Federation and a former Hong Kong team member.
“Vietnam won three spots in Wuxi and we must work hard to maintain our advantage over these up and coming nations across the region.”