Vivian Kong Man-wai
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The women’s epee medal ceremony. Photo: FIE

Fencer Vivian Kong snatches second medal at Cairo World Championships

  • Kong lost to eventual champion Song Sera of South Korea in women’s épée semi-finals to finish joint-third place in Cairo
  • She also captured bronze medal at last Worlds in 2019, Hong Kong’s first and will lead assault in team event with Natalie Chan, Kaylin Hsieh and Coco Lin

Vivian Kong Man-wai snatched her second medal after settling for a joint-third place in the women’s épée at the World Championships in Cairo on Monday.

In a heartbreaking semi-final against world No 3 Song Sera of South Korea, Kong, who held a 4-2 head-to-head advantage before the bout, once forced a nine-all draw in the third and last session with one minute to go.

But the Korean showed spectacular form with her neat defence to score five points in a row to win the match 14-9. Song went on to clinch the world title for South Korea as she beat Alexandra Ndolo of Germany 11-10 in the final.

Vivian Kong wins her second consecutive bronze medal at the World Championships. Photo: FIE

Kong, the world No 7, and Rossella Fiamingo of Italy Alexandra, who lost to the German 15-10 in their semi-final clash, were both awarded a bronze medal as there was no play-off for the third place.

It was the second successive trophy for Kong at the World Championships after the 28-year-old claimed Hong Kong’s first-ever medal, also a bronze, at the 2019 Worlds where she also lost in the semi-finals to Nathalie Moellhausen of Brazil. No world event took place over the last two years because of Covid-19 and the Tokyo Olympics.

Head coach Zheng Kangzho said he was pleased with the result, given the World Championships is the biggest event outside the Olympic Games.

Hong Kong’s women fencing team advance at Cairo World Championships

“Winning a medal at the World Championships is not easy, but Kong has now done it two times in a row,” Zheng said.


“She has made it round by round until meeting the world No 3 Song in the last four. The Korean is surely a top-ranked player and did so well in the bout with her strong defence – especially in the closing stages.”

It was also the first time all four Hong Kong fencers made it to the main round of 64, showcasing the depth of the team. Only Kong was given a direct entry due to her world ranking as the world’s top 16 while – three others had to claw their way through the pool stage.

Vivian Kong (right) and Song Sera in the women’s épée semi-finals. Photo: FIE

Debutant Natalie Chan Wai-ling eventually finished 30th after losing her round of 32 bout to Erika Kirpu of Estonia 15-8 – a member of her country’s gold medal winning team at the Tokyo Olympics. Kirpu was then eliminated by Kong in the round of 16.

But it was already a marvellous effort for the 24-year-old Chan as she was a last minute substitute for compatriot Monnie Chu Ka-mong, who was tested Covid-19 positive just before the start of the tournament.

The promising fencer was born in Hong Kong before moving to New Zealand at the age of two with her father, Chan Kai-sang, who represented Hong Kong in a series of international competitions, including the 1988 Seoul Olympics, also in épée, before his retirement.

Vivian Kong stuns fencing world No 1 to regain Asian title

In 2018, Chan returned to the city after representing New Zealand in junior levels and began to don the Hong Kong colours. At last month’s Asian Championships in Seoul, she beat Song in the quarter-finals and reached the medal round before settling for a bronze, her first major success for Hong Kong.


Two other Hong Kong fencers, Kaylin Hsieh Sin-yan came 40th after losing to Isabel Di Tella of Argentina 9-8 in round of 64 while Coco Lin Yik-hei also exited in the same stage. She was beaten by Martyna Swatowska-Wenglarczyk of Poland 15-11 and finished 46th. The results, however, will be a strong morale booster when they start in the team event on Wednesday.

Hong Kong finished 16th at the last Worlds when Kong did not start because of a knee injury she sustained in the individual event.

Vivian Kong and her coach Octavian Zidaru in Cairo. Photo: FIE

“They have to forget the individual results as the team event is another competition,” the coach said. “The most important thing in fencing is how they perform on the day, not the past results, not the ranking. The team is improving as you can tell from their performance today and we would be very happy if we can get a better result than four years ago.”


Hong Kong also started in the men’s individual foil on Wednesday with two fencers, world No 1 Cheung Ka-long and Ryan Choi Chun-yin, the world No 7, reaching directly into the main draw. Two other fencers, Yeung Chi-ka and Lawrence Ng Lok-wang also made it after winning through the pool stages.

Cheung will meet Ivan Komsic of Croatia in his first match while Choi’s opponent is Tobias Reichetzer of Austria. Along with Yeung, the three Hong Kong fencers are all in the top quarter of the draw which means Cheung will face Choi in the last eight if they both win through.