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Woman’s final epee between Hong Kong’s Vivian Kong Man-wai (Left) and China’s Sun Yiwen at the AsiaWorld-Expo. Photo: Jonathan Wong

International Fencing Association pulls Hong Kong leg of World Cup, citing strict quarantine rules

  • Hong Kong removed as host of fencing junior World Cup as world body rejects quarantine requirements
  • This follows the cancellation of November’s Badminton Hong Kong Open for similar reasons

Strict quarantine restrictions policy has cost the city another major international event as the proposed 2022 junior epee World Cup Hong Kong leg has been called off.

The Hong Kong Fencing Association has confirmed the December 3-4 event, which forms part of the 2022-23 series and was expected to attract more than 100 up-and-coming fencers, will now move to another location.

“The International Fencing Association (FIE) prefers to have no quarantine for all the participants, but all we can tell them at this moment is that Hong Kong still adopts a compulsory quarantine policy,” chairman of the association Yeung Wing-sun said.

Fencing Association chairman Yeung Wing-sun (centre) and fencers attending a joint-venture programme. Photo: Chan Kin-wa

“We may consider staging the event under a safety bubble which requires no quarantine for participants, but it will involve a lot more extra work which may not be feasible in a short period of time.

“Of course we can still wait and see if the government will relax the anti-epidemic measures, but that will be very difficult to predict as the policy is affected by the development of the pandemic situation.

“If we decide to pull out at the last minute when there is no change of existing quarantine requirements, it may leave the world body with a bad impression as they may find it difficult to find a new organiser.”

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Yeung, who attended a joint venture programme with Fila on Wednesday, said they had informed their decision to FIE and their official website had also removed the Hong Kong leg.

The existing quarantine policy requires all inbound travellers to quarantine for three nights in a designated hotel which will be followed by a four-night medical surveillance at home or at self-arranged accommodation. The fencing chief said these conditions would not be accepted by the world body.

Earlier, the Badminton Association also cancelled this year’s Hong Kong Open slated for November 8-13 as “Covid-19 protocol and quarantine arrangements between Hong Kong and other world tour events are different,” and international shuttlers would be reluctant to visit under such circumstances.

Hong Kong was once awarded the hosts of a junior World Cup leg in December but has been removed from the latest list. Photo: FIE

Despite some strong results of Hong Kong fencers in recent years, including an Olympic gold medal from Cheung Ka-long in Tokyo last year, the city has never staged an international event involving athletes from different parts of the world.

The biggest was the 2017 Asian Championships, which took place at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Chap Lap Kok with fencers from around Asia.

The fencing chief said they were planning for their first major international event after 2024 as most of Hong Kong’s top fencers would soon be busy when the new season begins in November and included part of the Olympic qualification cycle leading to Paris 2024 Olympics.