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Vivian Kong (left) won the Hong Kong Open for a second year. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Fencer Vivian Kong ends Hong Kong Open unbeaten, looks ahead to World Cup in Vancouver

  • The world No 7 is hoping to end the year on a high note as she storms through the local competition to defend her Hong Kong Open title
  • In the men’s épée final, defending champion Fong was pushed to sudden death, but regrouped to win title for a third time

Top local fencer Vivian Kong Man-wai warmed up for a World Cup event in Vancouver later this week by defending her Hong Kong Open Championships title on Saturday with an undefeated run.

The world No 7 proved to be too strong in winning the women’s épée final.

In a rematch of last month’s Challenge Cups, Kong squared off with Natalie Chan Wai-ling in a lopsided affair that left no doubt about Kong’s momentum.

Kong took an early 5-1 lead and despite a surge from Chan stormed ahead to win the match 12-6 to defend her title for the second consecutive year.

“I have improved on the physical side compared to the Challenge Cups last month,” Kong said. “I’m happy that I can use what I’ve been training for, whether it’s technical or tactics.”

The men’s épée finals between Fong Hoi-sun (right) and Ng Ho-tin was a tightly contested battle. Photo: Jonathan Wong

The season began last month with the first World Cup in Tallinn, Estonia, where Kong finished sixth in the individual event. With the Vancouver World Cup leg starting on Friday, the former world No 1 hopes to end the year on a high note.

“Vancouver is the final stop in 2022 … I want to finish in the top four,” she said. “It’s been a while since I stepped on the podium, it’s time to get one.”

Kong’s most recent appearance on a world cup podium was May 2019 in Dubai, but the 28-year-old admitted that an improved team ranking was now more important than her individual record.

“We all hope to qualify a team to the 2024 Olympics like we did in Tokyo, so team ranking is our priority,” she said.

The Hong Kong’s women’s épée team finished ninth at the World Cup team event in Tallinn and are now ranked 11th in the world, with South Korea and China finishing first and seventh, respectively.

In the men’s épée final, defending champion Fong Hoi-san and Ng Ho-tin went toe-to-toe in all three sessions, with them locked at 4-4 in the second and 6-6 halfway through the third.

Fong took an 8-6 lead with less than 30 seconds to go, but Ng tied it up with 8-8 in the last 20 seconds, with both facing “sudden death”.

“Every time I compete in the Open championships, the pressure is there,” Fong said. “My form is still not there after a one-month break in August, but I told myself I cannot afford to lose.”

Fong now turns his attention to Vancouver, where he hopes to make the main draw.

“I hope to have the concentration in the Worlds, I lost a bit at the last World Cup in Switzerland last month and finished very bad there. I hope it will not happen in Vancouver again.”