Sports

Hong Kong fencing seeking ‘world’s best’ coaches to help in push for gold at Asian Games and Paris Olympics


“My biggest mandate is to find coaches to help improve our athletes,” Zheng said. “I’ve been searching for [foil and épée] coaches these few months and there’s a chance we will have one in the sabre discipline, too.”

Hong Kong fencer Debbie Ho Tik-lam (right) listens to instructions from national representative team épée coach Zheng Kangzhao at the National Games in Tianjin. Photo: Chinese Fencing Association

Hong Kong fencer Debbie Ho Tik-lam (right) listens to instructions from national representative team épée coach Zheng Kangzhao at the National Games in Tianjin. Photo: Chinese Fencing Association

“We need to find someone who is suitable for the team, with a stable foundation and clear philosophy to help the athletes. It takes time to integrate and communicate when a new coach joins. We’ve got the Asian Games in less than a year, the Olympics we say three years but it’ll be here in no time. So it’s time sensitive.

“Foil I’ve already hired a new Italian coach. As for épée, I’m still pondering as there are some options. I need to find the best one for us.”

Zheng’s definition of what best means is quite simple: to help win more gold medals. Hong Kong won two silvers and six bronzes in the sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, with men’s individual foilist Nicholas Edward Choi seconds away from winning gold.

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“My biggest goal is to win gold. Numbers show how much you’ve improved. We were so, so close last time. I hope we can get it this time,” Zheng said.

“You see Vivian, Ka-long and the team are very young and energetic. I think they can easily compete at one or two more Olympics. They are getting more mature and their experience is still improving, so their technique and composure will be better. I really believe they will get good results.”

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(From left) Vivian Kong Man-wai, Lin Yik-hei, Chu Ka-mong, coach Octavian Zidaru and Kaylin Hsieh Sin-yan at the Hong Kong Airport before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July. Photo: Chan Kin-wa

(From left) Vivian Kong Man-wai, Lin Yik-hei, Chu Ka-mong, coach Octavian Zidaru and Kaylin Hsieh Sin-yan at the Hong Kong Airport before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July. Photo: Chan Kin-wa

As for the upcoming Hong Kong Open Championships, Zheng warned all his athletes against complacency, with performances and rankings from all domestic events being considered ahead of next May, when the Asian Games squad will be named.

“From [the athletes’ perspective], it’s a good opportunity because nobody knows who exactly is going to go. Anyone who thinks their spot is sealed is lying,” he said.

“If you don’t apply yourself then you won’t improve. If you assume you’re going then you lose that drive, that pressure. Every one of them has something to prove and is training well. I think this professional and competitive environment will help them a lot.”



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