It has been a rough couple of days at the Asian Games for Hong Kong fencing. Yesterday, Nicholas Choi was moments away from getting Hong Kong its first gold medal, holding a 10-8 lead in the men’s individual foil final with 30 seconds left on the clock. But a disastrous ending handed the 20-year-old Huang Mengkai of China the gold instead.
“It’s a pity, because I was leading 10-8 and he caught up really well,” Choi said. “I was actually a bit tired at the end; and my muscles – I don’t know if it’s cramp or something, but I couldn’t do what I wanted to, and then he did what he wanted to. It was a good few points for him at the end.”
The 25-year-old Choi had faced his Hong Kong teammate Cheung Ka-long, the number one-ranked foil fencer in Asia, in the semi-final. Cheung went on to win the bronze medal.
“My goal was a medal, and then I had to fence my teammate in the semi-final,” Choi said. “Our goal was actually to fence each other in the final, but still, I’m really happy because both of us got to win a medal for Hong Kong today.”
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s biggest fencing star - former Olympian Vivian Kong - finished third in the women’s individual epee after falling to the eventual gold medal winner Kang Youngmi of South Korea yesterday.
“I didn’t do very well in the final stages,” Kong said. “I’m not satisfied with the result.”
But although Hong Kong’s fencing stars underperformed in the individual stages, they were expected to be strong contenders for the group medals. Unfortunately, earlier today, the men's epee team and the women's sabre team were both eliminated in the quarter-finals by Kazakhstan. There were no medals for Hong Kong fencing in Day 4.
On a more positive note, the women’s swim teams continued to impress; after securing the bronze medal in the 100m freestyle relay on day 2, they were able to do the same in the 200m relay the following day, despite the absence of their strongest swimmer, Siobhan Haughey.
In other news – the Hong Kong men’s basketball team is in the midst of a tight match against a weakened Japan team in the final game of the group stages. Four Japanese players were sent home, meaning Hong Kong could pull off a stunning upset.
Hong Kong will look to get some more swimming medals tonight. Stephanie Au will compete in the women's 200m freestyle and Toto Wong Kwan-to in the women's 100m backstroke at 8.15pm.
The Hong Kong men's 100m freestyle relay team will compete in the final after finishing third in their heat, and the men's 100m medley relay team, featuring superstar Kenneth To, made it to the final which will take place at 8.50pm. Hopefully the swimmers can help Hong Kong nab its first gold tonight.
At the time of publication, Hong Kong had failed to obtain any medals on day four. All in all it has been a disappointing start for the city, who came into this year’s games with a much bigger squad than 2014, yet are performing seemingly much worse. Let’s hope they can pick it up.