Hong Kong’s Cheung Ka-long claims gold at world junior fencing championships
Teenager beats long-time rival Toshiya Saito 15-11 in the final of the Junior and Cadet World Championships in Bulgaria on Thursday
Teenage Hong Kong foilist Cheung Ka-long beat long-time rival Toshiya Saito from Japan to claim a gold medal at the Junior and Cadet World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s fencing capital, on Thursday.
Saito, who beat Cheung in the Asian Junior Championships final in Abu Dhabi two years ago, was leading 8-3 in the decider, but the 19-year-old Hong Kong Olympian fought back to seal a 15-11 victory.
Cheung’s success follows in the footsteps of Karen Chang Ngai-hing, who claimed the girls’ sabre title in 2013.
“It’s so nice of bagging the title in my last world junior,” said Cheung, who represented Hong Kong at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I was a bit tense that I might not be able to deliver in my last world appearance, but it came all the way through for a good performance.
“We are still in the team event and want to have another go to bring home more honour.”
To the dismay of his supporters, Cheung surprisingly lost in the last 16 of the Asian Junior Championships in Thailand earlier this year as teammate Ryan Choi Chun-yin claimed the title.
But University of Hong Kong student Choi failed to repeat his feat in Bulgaria and finished 14th in a field of over 150 fencers.
Cheung and Choi will join compatriots Lee Yat-long and Ng Lok-wang in the team competition.
Cheung became the first-ever gold medallist from Hong Kong at in the men’s foil individual at the Asian Fencing Championships in Wuxi, China in April last year.
At that time, he had only been training full-time for less than two years.