Hong Kong’s men’s foil team won a historic silver medal at the World Cup in St Petersburg, in Russia, on Sunday.
The city’s fencing team, made up of Edgar Cheung Ka-long, Ryan Choi Chun-yin, Cheung Siu-lun, and Yeung Chi-ka, came second after losing to the US, the reigning world number one. Nonetheless, it’s still a great result for Hong Kong, as they try to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.
“We are so proud to be on the podium in the team event. A silver medal means a lot to us and the entire Hong Kong fencing team,” said Edgar Cheung, 21, on his Facebook account on Sunday.
“Thank you so much for all the support and we will do better next time. You will see us again on the podium for the next competition!”
In the finals, the US team led from the start and never trailed their opponents. Apart from the three opening bouts, the closest Hong Kong came to matching the Americans was in the fourth round, when the locals were five points behind their rivals.
By the ninth bout, the Hong Kong team lagged by 13 points and there was no way back. The game ended 45-35 in favour of the US. Meanwhile, South Korea defeated France to win the bronze medal.
Led by coach Greg Koenig, Hong Kong’s men’s foil team, which was ranked seventh in the world before the competition, played four matches before facing off against the US on the same day.
Hong Kong first beat Uzbekistan 45-23, then edged out China 45-44 to secure a spot in the last eight. In the quarter-finals, Hong Kong won another close match by the same margin, 45-44, against the second best team in the world, Italy.
In the semi-finals, Hong Kong went head-to-head against France, and trounced their opponents 45-35.
At the previous World Cup stop in Cairo, Egypt, in March, the Hong Kong team came sixth.
They are now ranked sixth in the world. They will next compete at the 2019 Asian Fencing Championships, to be held in Tokyo, in Japan, in June.