Cheung Ka-long settles for bronze medal in Paris World Cup as Hong Kong fencers struggle
- World No 5 loses in individual foil semi-finals to American Alexander Massialas, with city’s fencers out of form heading into team competition
- A joint-third place finish is the best result for Cheung so far this season after finishing 33rd and 10th in two previous legs
Cheung Ka-long lost to Alexander Massialas of the United States for the second time in a row, but his bronze medal at the World Cup series in Paris was his best result so far this season.
The Hong Kong fencing icon made it all the way to the semi-finals of the individual foil on Saturday before meeting the American, with Cheung defending the title he won in the French capital a year ago.
The Tokyo Olympic champion looked close to completing his mission when he led 13-11 in the final stages, but Massials – who was born to a Chinese mother from Taiwan, and was a member of the bronze medal winning team at the 2020 Games – took four points in a row to reach the final.
Massialas, who also beat Cheung 15-12 in the round of 16 at the World Cup series event in Tokyo last month, extended his fine form in the final where he easily beat Guillaume Bianchi of Italy 15-5 for the gold medal.
Cheung started the new season with a mediocre result at the first World Cup series in Bonn, Germany, where he lost in the round of 64 before a 10th-placed finish in Japan where he was beaten by Massialas.
The 25-year-old will start again in Paris on Sunday as he leads Hong Kong in the team foil competition, after his teammates also struggled in the individual competition.
World No 9 Ryan Choi Chun-yin, who also earned direct entry into the round of 64 by virtue of his ranking, lost in his second match when he was defeated by Ediri Alexandre of France 15-11.
Yeung Chi-ka was the best finisher of the four other Hong Kong fencers that started from the pool stage.
He won his round of 64 bout over Alexandre Sido of the hosts 15-13, but he could not advance further, losing to Gergo Szemes of Hungry 15-11 in the last 32.
The Hungarian also defeated another Hong Kong fencer in Lawrence Ng Lok-wang 15-7 in his previous match.
Nicholas Choi also suffered an early exit, as he was beaten 15-11 by Im Cheol-woo of South Korea in the round of 64, where Lee Yat-long lost 15-4 to Mohamed Hamza of Egypt.