Fencing schools in Hong Kong have seen a surge in class enquiries and sign-ups since Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long bagged a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Monday.
The 24-year-old clinched the city’s first Olympic gold medal since 1996 on Monday, after a beating 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallist Daniele Garozzo of Italy, by 15 points to 11.
The headmaster of Hong Kong Fencing School in Yau Ma Tei, Wong Tsan, said his school received between 50 to 60 calls from parents interested in enrolling their children in fencing classes, less than a day after Cheung’s win on Monday night.
“We typically don’t get many enquiries in mid-summer because children have by now enrolled in summer extra-curricular activities. I believe this is the ‘Ka-long effect,” he told HKFP. “Parents want their sons and daughters to be as cool as Ka-long.”
They will however have to be put on a waiting list for now, until the school adds new classes to its schedule to meet the sudden demand, he said.
The men’s individual foil winner had attended Wong’s school as teenager for six years before joining the Hong Kong youth fencing team at 16 years old, making the moment “especially exciting,” he said.
A roaring win
Wong, who is in Tokyo as a member of the Olympic games’ training facility managing staff, said Hong Kong’s Olympic win on Monday was felt as “a roar.”
“I heard the cheers, even from the next [hall],” he said.
Fencers Club Hong Kong in Cheung Sha Wan, meanwhile, said the school had at least 10 new sign-ups for children between three and six years of age since Monday, and received another two to three dozen telephone enquiries about classes.
“We will add four new classes to the schedule starting this week,” said the school’s programme director and fencing instructor, Wu Siu-cheung.
Wu said the school’s instructors and students watched Cheung’s winning game on live television: “Of course we were thrilled, so thrilled by it,” Wu said. “We rose our arms in celebration.”