Asian Games 2018: fencer Vivian Kong ‘honoured’ to carry Hong Kong flag at opening ceremony
The 24-year-old is the Asian epee champion and among the favourites to capture gold for the city in Jakarta
Fencer Vivian Kong Man-wai will carry the Hong Kong flag at the Asian Games 2018 opening ceremony on Saturday, a worthy representative after some impressive results in Asia and the Olympics.
Hong Kong chef de mission Herman Hu Shao-ming said one of the reasons the 24-year-old was chosen was because she will physically be in Jakarta, while many of Hong Kong’s 580-odd athletes have yet to arrive in the Indonesian capital.
But Hu pointed out that Kong deserved the chance to carry the Hong Kong flag because of her performances, irrespective of who else was present in Jakarta.
“It’s a huge honour and I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” said Kong, who finished 11th at the Rio Olympic Games in the epee individual and won bronze in the epee individual and team events at the Incheon Games in 2014.
“Thank you to the fencing team and the committee for choosing me and I am humbled by this responsibility. Wishing our Hong Kong team all the best.”
At the 2014 world championships, Stanford University graduate Kong finished eighth in the epee event and she has achieved numerous top-10 rankings in various World Cup tournaments around the world, including third-place finishes in Havana, Cuba and in Legnano, Italy.
“We selected Vivian to be the flag-bearer for the Hong Kong team based on a few criteria,” said Hu. “First of all, we must choose from athletes who are already here in Jakarta and also based on results in major games.
“And we feel Vivian fulfils all the criteria and can best represent the Olympic spirit and the spirit of Hong Kong.”
Kong became the first female fencer from Hong Kong to win a gold medal at the Asian Championships when she won the individual epee at the 2018 tournament in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 1.78m (five-foot-10) athlete started out in taekwondo and received her black belt at the age of 11 before switching to fencing. She also was a good dancer and her mother wanted her to become an ice skater.
“I liked [ice skating] but I was not so good at it. And then my father stepped in and said, ‘Why don’t you try fencing?’ Fencing is like the ballet of sports, it is very elegant. I really, really liked fencing so I started it at age 11.”