Mon, 11 Dec 2023

HANGZHOU, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- China's Huang Qianqian secured a surprising gold in the women's foil individual event at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Monday, while Gu Bon-gil of South Korea fell short in his quest for a fourth consecutive men's sabre gold.

Huang took an early lead in the final against world No. 15 Yuka Ueno of Japan. She then delivered a stunning 8-0 run that transformed her from being one point behind into a commanding position. The 21-year-old didn't allow her opponent any opportunity to narrow the gap, ultimately winning her first-ever major title with a 15-8 victory.

"It's a dream come true for me," said Huang, whose previous best performance was a 15th-place finish at the World Championships in Milan this July. "I never thought I could make it to the final. So I just gave it my all."

Having lost 5-3 to Ueno in the group stage earlier in the day, Huang, ranked 29th in the world, noted that a change in strategy likely played a key role in her victory in the final.

"Qianqian did change her playing style in the final. I advised her not to rush on the offense but to be patient on defense and look for counter-attack opportunities," said Huang's coach, Lei Sheng, emphasizing her tactical discipline. "She exceeded expectations today and displayed excellent concentration."

Chen Qingyuan, another strong Chinese contender, was eliminated by Hong Hyo-jin of South Korea in the round of 16.

In the men's sabre individual event, Gu's pursuit of gold nearly faltered in the quarterfinals as he trailed China's Shen Chenpeng 14-10 in the closing moments. However, the 34-year-old regained his momentum, scoring five consecutive points to secure a comeback victory.

Gu then defeated Yousiff Alshmlan of Kuwait to set up a rematch of the Jakarta Asian Games with his compatriot Oh Sang-uk. In the third consecutive all-South Korean men's sabre final at the Asian Games, Gu initially led 7-6, but his quest to make history was dashed by a ruthless 9-0 run from Oh, resulting in a 15-7 loss.

China's Yan Yinghui and Shen finished in fifth and seventh place, respectively.

The men's epee and women's sabre individual events are scheduled for Tuesday.

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