19th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong may be small in terms of population, but when it comes to fencing, the city punches above its weight and has ambitious hopes for medal success at the Asian Games in Hangzhou. Edgar Cheung’s historic gold medal win at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, Hong Kong’s first Olympic fencing title in 25 years, turned him into an overnight celebrity and sparked a surge in interest in the sport among parents across the territory. With increased funding and attention, Cheung and his teammates are determined to make their mark in Hangzhou. Despite their strong performance in recent editions, including eight medals in 2018, Hong Kong has yet to secure a fencing gold at the Asian Games.
Cheung, 26, expressed his desire for both individual and team events to finally clinch the elusive gold. The city’s contingent of 24 fencers, comprising 12 women and 12 men, includes Vivian Kong, ranked number two in the world in women’s epee, and Ryan Choi, a bronze medalist at the recent world championships. Cheung, who has recovered from a wrist injury, aims to show their competitors that they should be wary of the Hong Kong team’s improved form since 2018. Fencing in Hong Kong has a rich history dating back to the British colonial era, with the amateur fencing association established in 1949. The sport gained prominence at the 2010 Asian Games, where Hong Kong fencers won seven medals, solidifying their regional dominance. Efforts to popularize fencing in schools and communities, along with reforms in talent discovery and training, have contributed to the sport’s growth.
Cheung’s Olympic triumph led to increased funding for elite athletes, including facility expansions. While interest has somewhat waned since the initial surge, Hong Kong’s fencing team remains focused on making history and cementing their legacy in the sport.