Hong Kong had to settle for a silver medal despite the presence of newly crowned champion Vivian Kong Man-wai after losing to South Korea in the women’s épée team final at the Asian Championships in Seoul on Monday. Kong, who lifted the individual épée champion on the opening day of the regional championships last Friday, could not stop her team’s stronger rivals as they lost 39-27. Vivian Kong stuns fencing world No 1 to regain Asian title “The result did not surprise me too much as the Koreans are the world number one and silver medallists at the Tokyo Olympics,” Zheng Kangzhao, the head coach, said. “Our girls did put up a strong fight trying to get something out of it but, to be honest, there is still a considerable gap to close against the Koreans.” Even without their world No 1 Choi In-jeong, the Koreans were still leading from the opening stages against a Hong Kong team that also featured Natalie Chan Wai-ling, Coco Lin Yik-hei and Moonie Chu Ka-mong. Choi was beaten by Kong in the individual final, while Chan was the joint bronze medallist in the individual event with Japan’s Nozomi Sato. Kong started with a 2-1 lead over Kang Young-mi in the first bout before Chan extended it to 6-4, but that was the best Hong Kong could offer. The hosts levelled the score at 7-all after Lee Hye-in took a 3-1 win over Lin before going all the way through. In the last bout, Kong lost 6-1 to Song Se-ra, with the underdogs causing little trouble overall to the world’s best. “I would not say Kong had some poor performance because the Koreans are very strong in the discipline. Any one of their squad members is world class and no one could beat them if they delivered,” Zheng said. Hong Kong were given a bye in the round of 16 before trouncing Singapore 45-33 in the quarter-finals. They reached the final following a 40-30 win over China in the next stage, while the Koreans won their semi-final against Japan 45-35. China did not bring their Tokyo Olympic champion Sun Yiwen to Seoul. Hong Kong medal rush as Cheung Ka-long, Ryan Choi win fencing gold and bronze In the men’s team sabre, Low Ho-tin, Chan Cheuk-him, Cyrus Chang Chi-hin and Aaron Ho Sze-long of Hong Kong snatched a joint-bronze with Iran after losing to South Korea 45-31 in the semi-finals. The Koreans were leading 40-22 before the last bout when Low scored nine points but that could not change the result. Hong Kong so far have collected two gold, one silver and three bronze medals, but coach Zheng is still looking for more medals with two more days in the team event in remain. “The men’s team foil on the final day is our biggest hope for another gold medal while the women’s team foil and sabre also have chances,” he said. The men’s team foil is headed by Cheung Ka-long, the individual gold medal winner over the weekend and Ryan Choi Chun-yin, the bronze medal winner.