Vivian Kong ’16 finishes fifth in Olympic women’s individual fencing competition

July 27, 2021, 6:54 p.m.

Last Saturday, Hong Kong’s Vivian Kong ’16 stepped up to the epee fencing strip for her first match in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and fenced her way to a fifth-place overall finish in the individual women’s epee. 

Kong’s first match of the day saw her take on Maria Luisa Doig Calderon of Peru. The two athletes launched many of their attacks almost simultaneously, giving the advantage to whoever landed the touch first, mere split seconds after the attack began. After multiple exchanges, the timer sounded, signaling the end of the first three-minute round. The pair were evenly matched with a score of 6-6. 

In the second round, the fencers began to use more aggressive tactics. Kong launched the first successful attack to bring the score to 7-6. Both sides made simultaneous touches and successful lunges, evening the score once again to 10-10. Constantly on the offensive, Kong pressured Doig Calderon into backing up towards the end of the strip several times. Kong’s opponent attempted a few bold lunges but missed each time and the second round ended with a score of 12-10 in favor of Kong. 

The third round saw Doig Calderon going on the offensive more often in an attempt to close Kong’s two-point lead. However, Kong took advantage of Doig Calderon’s aggression and managed to land multiple hits on her opponent’s lunges. The three-round match ended with Kong claiming a 15-11 victory.

A few hours later, Kong stepped onto the strip again for her second-round match against Renata Knapik-Miazga from Poland. Both athletes were extremely cautious to start and no points were scored for the first two minutes. The referee gave Kong and Knapik-Miazga red cards for inactivity, which immediately spurred them into action. With only one minute left in the first round, Kong launched two successful attacks to bring the score to 3-1. 

In the second round, Knapik-Miazga was more active and both fencers launched several successful attacks, ending it with a score of 6-4 in favor of Kong. In the final round, both athletes used a more aggressive playstyle to get in as many touches as possible. Knapik-Miazga attempted to advance and pressure Kong into backing up, but Kong kept pressing forward despite her opponent’s best attempts. With a four-point lead after a few exchanges, Kong gained more confidence and remained unfazed by her opponent’s constant attacks. Kong claimed another victory with a score of 15-8 and moved on to the quarterfinals. 

In the quarterfinals, Kong faced off against Aizanat Murtazaeva from Russia. The bout started slow and both athletes received a red card for inactivity as no points were scored after two minutes. Within the last minute of the first round, Kong lunged and managed to land a touch, ending the first round with a score of 2-1 in favor of Kong. 

The second round saw Murtazaeva play more aggressively and the pair clashed in the middle of the strip. Both athletes went on the offensive more often, with Kong favoring a more steady advance and her opponent utilizing sudden lunges. Touches were scored on both sides, ending the second round with Murtazaeva holding a one-point lead of 6-5.  

In the third round, Murtazaeva played even more aggressively to keep Kong under constant pressure. Kong still managed to get multiple touches but Murtazaeva’s vigorous approach was effective and Kong was unable to close the gap in time. Murtazaeva took the match by five points with a final score of 15-10 which eliminated Kong, who concluded her Olympic run in fifth place. 

Kong had another chance for an Olympic gold in the women’s team epee event that took place on Monday evening. However, the Hong Kong team lost to China in the quarterfinals, 44-32.

Alinda Lau is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.

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