Fence-tastic!

Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long has made history by winning gold in the men's individual foil event, defeating reigning Olympics champion Italian Daniele Garozzo. Cheung lifted Hong Kong's first foil fencing gold - and second Olympic gold ever - with a score of...

Michael Shum and Carine Chow

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long has made history by winning gold in the men's individual foil event, defeating reigning Olympics champion Italian Daniele Garozzo.

Cheung lifted Hong Kong's first foil fencing gold - and second Olympic gold ever - with a score of 15-11.

The 24-year-old Cheung started out with quick and sharp attacks against the 2016 Rio champ and current world No 7 Garozzo, but the Italian was able to dodge the attacks and score four straight points to lead 4-1.

But Cheung, ranked 19th in the world, remained calm, landing one attack after another and snatched five straight points to reclaim the lead.

After some quick attacks, Cheung extended the lead to 10-5, before 28-year-old Garozzo attempted another comeback to narrow Cheung's lead to one.

Cheung fended off the Italian 15-11 to be the first Hong Kong fencer to snatch gold in the Olympic Games in only his second Olympiad.

After the bout, Cheung said he could hardly believe that he had won the second gold medal in Hong Kong history.

"I did not fence all that well in the beginning and it was a bumpy ride. I thought to myself that I could not remain defensive any more and should attack more, and it worked," Cheung said.

He reminded himself when he was behind not to give up, and clawed back the deficit one point at a time.

The 1.93-meter-tall fencer said the gold medal means a lot to Hong Kong's fencing athletes.

"It proves that we are not only winning in Asia, but we can also win in world competition and achieve what we want.

"I want to thank my family the most because sometimes I get frustrated when I do not fence well," he said, adding that the gold medal would serve as a belated birthday gift for his father, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday.

Cheung said his job wasn't done yet, as he hoped to snatch another gold in the team competition.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor congratulated Cheung and his coach, saying: "I have been watching Ka-long's bouts on TV today, and cheered for him. Ka-long has outstanding techniques and was calm in the bouts.

"Showing his exceptional perseverance in adversity, he created history for Hong Kong finally."

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Facebook: "You well deserved it! The whole city is proud of you! Congratulations!"

Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui Ying-wai said: "Cheung Ka-long has fully met the challenges to display his skills and maintained a high level of concentration during the competition.

"It is a great honor to win the medal. I hope he will reach new heights in future."

In a Kwun Tong shopping mall, hundreds of people watched the live broadcast in the atrium, and the atmosphere grew tense as the score came close, with some cheering "Hong Kong!" and "Hang in there, Ka-long!"