Fencing is a highly competitive and strategic sport which requires high level of agility, endurance and concentration. When ready for combat, the fencer has to get started with a defensive posture, keeping a clear mind on when to hold back and when to wield the foil to score.
HKUST’s young fencer Kimberley Vanessa Cheung, a Year 3 student majored in Biomedical Engineering, won bronze for the Women’s Foil Team event in the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, adding a kick to Hong Kong’s impressive medals table. Kimberley’s talent was first spotted in Primary 4; since then, she has reaped numerous awards for Hong Kong, and became a member of the Hong Kong Fencing Association. Currently, she ranks first among the young fencers under 20 in Hong Kong and second overall, marking another momentous milestone in her fencing career.
Even for a remarkable talent like Kimberley, the wind of her sails was once taken out. Kimberly still remembers some of her failures during the earlier days. “Fencing is about precision of your skills, concentration and emotional control. Every competitor loves to win and hates to lose. This mentality once became a burden for me which affected my on-court performance. As I became more familiar with the game, I became more mature, and came to realize that success is never measured by winning.”
Many would contend that “practice makes perfect” is already a cliché, but it still holds true for many. Kimberley sacrifices her social time and spends 15 hours a week to practise fencing. Apart from allocating time for practice, she travels frequently around the world to attend different competitions. All at the same time, she still managed to perform equally well in her academics, having been on the Dean’s List since she joined HKUST in 2012.
“We have to think a few steps ahead of our opponents, identify their weaknesses, and take advantage of them. Courage is almost as important, and I always found courage in the fencing team, where our teammates care about one another.” Kimberly added. The victory in the Asian games inspires the young fencer and is indeed another remarkable achievement for the budding star.