Paco Chan Pak-hei of Hong Kong scored an individual bronze medal in cadet men’s foil at the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships in Amman, Jordan, on Thursday, marking the city’s second medal from the tournament this year.
The good news came a day after women’s foilist Sophia Wu came in second place on Wednesday. Paco, who represented Hong Kong at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last October, went head to head with Japan’s Kazuki Iimura in the semi-finals. But the La Salle College student was bested by his opponent 9-15 and concluded his last Asian cadet individual competition with a bronze.
“My mentality was quite bad in the semi-finals, which is why I lost,” Paco said in a phone interview with Young Post. “Today’s defeat made me realise my mindset is one of my biggest shortcomings and I must work on it.”
The 16-year-old added that he was surprised by the way the competition turned out. After securing four wins and one loss in his pool, Paco was labelled the No. 12 seed, and directly qualified into the round of 32. However, he had to cross swords with fellow Hong Kong contestant Yuen Kai-nok early on in the direct elimination round.
Paco outplayed Yuen 15-12 to reach top 16, yet he was in for another shock when Joel Chiu Kajyn of Singapore abandoned the match due to injury. The Form Five student was thus automatically advanced to the quarter-finals automatically, where he prevailed over Chinese fencer Xu Jie with a marginal victory of 15-13 to secure his spot in top four.
When asked about his expectations for the team event, Paco said he is confident the team can claim another medal for Hong Kong. “I think we have a stronger line-up than last year, so we are indeed going for gold in the team event,” he said.