Cheung Ka-long won a historic gold medal for Hong Kong in men’s individual foil at Tokyo Olympics 2020 on Monday—the city’s first gold after 25 years and the first-ever medal in fencing. Read on for everything you need to know about the Hong Kong athlete.
Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long's triumph at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is historic. Beating the defending champion Daniele Garozzo of Team Italy in the men’s individual foil final on Monday (July 26), the athlete’s win not only ended Hong Kong’s 25-year-wait for an Olympic gold medal, after Lee Lai-shan’s windsurfing gold in Atlanta in 1996, but also marked the city’s first medal in fencing and the fourth medal in history.
“I am extremely happy to receive the gold medal. It doesn’t feel real. It’s like a dream for me,” the 24-year-old said, who was ranked 19th in the world going into the Tokyo Games. “After winning, I told myself, I can’t get complacent. I’ll continue to work hard to bring glory to Hong Kong. I really hope that we can win another medal for the city in the upcoming men’s foil team event.”
Cheung’s success has sparked waves of joyful cheers among Hongkongers, with countless socialites and celebrities sending him congratulatory messages and blessings—but our hometown hero is no stranger to awards or recognition in the fencing world. Here, we’re listing five things you should know about the newly crowned Tokyo 2020 Olympic fencing champion, Cheung Ka-long.
He comes from an athletic family
The pursuit for greatness in sports runs in Cheung's blood. Born into an athletic family, he had inherited talents from his parents, who both played national league basketball in China and Hong Kong. Cheung’s dad was originally hoping to train his son to be a basketball star when he was young, but he soon discovered Cheung’s passion for fencing after taking him to a lesson. As a result of his hard work and support from the family, Cheung was able to gain exposure to large competitions, earning quite a lot of athletic achievements at a very young age.
He became a full-time athlete at the age of 15
Cheung was studying at elite schools including Ying Wa College and Lam Tai Fai College before becoming a full-time athlete. When he was at Form 4, at just 15 years old, he participated in the 2014 Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships in Amman, Jordan, with the Hong Kong Fencing Team, and even secured some historic achievements, including gold medals in individual and team foil, in both junior and cadet categories.
After completing the Championships, Cheung decided to quit his studies to solely focus on playing fencing, preparing himself for an athletic career.
He has a number of elite-level awards under his belt
Currently ranked number 19th in the world, Cheung is expected to receive a career-high ranking after his win at the Tokyo Games. But prior to winning the Olympic gold medal, Cheung is already a top Hong Kong fencer who has been recognised for his talent and dedication. In addition to the above-mentioned awards at the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships in Amman, the fencing talent also won a bronze medal in team foil at the 2014 Icheon Asian Games, a silver medal and bronze medal in team foil and individual foil respectively at the 2018 Jarkata Asian Games.
He also won a gold medal in individual foil at the 2016 Asian Fencing Championships and was even named Hong Kong’s Most Promising Athlete at the Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards ceremony in 2016. At that time, he was only 18 years old.
In the last Games in Rio 2016, Cheung finished 11th in the round of 16. Although he didn’t make it to the final, he already made history to be the first fencing athlete from Hong Kong to enter the second round in Olympics.
He’s one of the flag bearers for Hong Kong at Tokyo Olympics 2020
Cheung was chosen to be a flag bearer for Team Hong Kong at the Tokyo Games along with badminton player Tse Ying-suet, leading the other Hong Kong athletes into the opening ceremony. And if you missed the ceremony, check out our article about the best moments of the night here.
He's a cat lover
Cheung loves cats almost as much as he loves fencing, as made evident from his photos shared on his Instagram account (@cheungkalongggg). The Cheung family has a ferret and four cats—three of them are an American shorthair and another one is a Ragdoll. Among them, the athlete's favourite one is undoubtedly Zimba, where he frequently posts pictures and short clips of the fluffy two-year-old American shorthair, and even created a Stories Highlights dedicated to the cat.