- The 24-year-old tops the world rankings after reaching quarter-finals in men’s singles at Belgrade World Cup
- Cheung shared a few congratulatory messages on social media but stays focused for Monday’s team foil event
Tokyo Olympic champion Edgar Cheung Ka-long has become Hong Kong’s first foil world No 1 after reaching the quarter-finals at the Belgrade World Cup on Sunday.
Cheung did not directly address his achievement on social media, but shared a number of congratulatory messages from fans to his Instagram story.
“Congrats, number 1 in the world,” wrote Hong Kong fencing team coach Greg Koenig.
The 24-year-old began the 2021-2022 season ranked fourth after claiming 96 winner’s points at the Games last summer.
He further narrowed the gap on Italian Alessio Foconi, whom he beat in the Tokyo semi-finals, after claiming gold at the FIE World Cup in Paris in January, where he earned 32 winner’s points to move up to the No 2 spot.
Cheung had 190 points before Belgrade, just two less than Foconi – who was upset 15-8 in the last 64 in Serbia by world No 136 James-Andrew Davis of Great Britain.
The top seeded foilist, Cheung impressed throughout the tournament, overpowering Singaporean Samuel Elijah Robson 15-6 in the last 64, beating Italy’s Edoardo Luperi 15-9 in the last 32, and seeing off South Korea’s Ha Taegyu 15-6 before falling 15-7 to world No 25 Giorgio Avola of Italy.
The 1.93-metres tall Cheung now leads the global rankings with 200 points, while Foconi has dropped to third place with 173 points. Takahiro Shikine of Japan has moved up to second spot with 180 points.
Women’s epeeist Vivian Kong man-wai became Hong Kong’s first fencer to top the global rankings in 2019.
Cheung will compete for another medal alongside his men’s foil teammates on Monday in Belgrade.
In the men’s singles, world No 6 Ryan Choi Chun-yin fell to Ukrainian Yunes Klod 15-9, while teammate Yeung Chi-ka was knocked out 15-8 by 20-year-old Dane Jonas Winterberg-Poulsen.
Cheung Siu-lun, Lawrence Ng Lok-wang, Nicholas Edward Choi, Kyle Chan, and Cheung Ngo-chun all bowed out in the preliminary rounds.
In the women’s foil, both Sophia Wu and Valerie Cheng Hiu-wai exited in the last 64. Wu was defeated by 2021 world cadet under-17 gold medallist Jessica Guo Zijia of Canada, while Cheng was beaten 15-4 by France’s Anita Blaze, who won silver in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team event.