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Saturday, August 13, 2016, 17:33

HK fencer has plenty of reasons to smile

By Wang Yuke In Hong Kong

HK fencer has plenty of reasons to smile
Hong Kong's Vivian Kong Man-wai (left) competes against Russia's Lyubov Shutova during their women’s individual epee qualifying bout as part of the fencing event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on Aug 6, 2016, at the Carioca Arena 3, in Rio de Janeiro. (Laurent KALFALA / AFP)

Many who saw Vivian Kong Man-wai in Rio will remember the 22-year-old Hong Kong fencer's signature smile.

HK fencer has plenty of reasons to smile A friendly and cheerful Olympic debutant, Kong set a simple goal for herself at these Games - to stay focused, do her best and make Hong Kong proud.

She accomplished all of those things en route to finishing a very respectable 11th overall.

Raised in a relaxed and loving household, Kong developed an optimism that shines through in her radiant smile.

"My parents let me choose what I enjoyed doing and they respected what I said and the decisions I made," she said. "We laugh and joke around a lot, at each other ... more like friends."

Her mother hoped she would learn to dance, but "I was more into fighting", said Kong.

To not disappoint her mom, she eventually found a compromise in fencing, a sport that incorporates elements of both ballet and sword fighting.

The footwork is similar to dance steps, Kong said.

Her achievements have made her parents proud.

"Although she marginally missed a place in the top 10, my daughter is now on a par with the world's best players," said Kong's mom.

An international studies senior at Stanford University in California, Kong hopes to become a diplomat, helping bring the world's citizens closer together.

Kong took a year off from university to concentrate on training and took up yoga and meditation to help her focus on qualifying for the Games.

In Rio she defeated 2009 world champion Lyubov Shutova of Russia before losing to Rossella Fiamingo of Italy.

jenny@chinadailyhk.com

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