Prospects for S'pore's foil team good

(From left) Singapore fencers Cheryl Wong, Nicole Mae Wong, Wang Wenying, and Liane Wong with their SEA Games gold medals.
(From left) Singapore fencers Cheryl Wong, Nicole Mae Wong, Wang Wenying, and Liane Wong with their SEA Games gold medals. PHOTO: ST FILE

The future looks bright for Singapore's women foil fencers after they finished fifth out of 11 teams at the Asian Fencing Championships yesterday.

The SEA Games gold medallists beat Australia 45-21 in the team fifth-place play-off while also defeating Iran (45-17) and Macau (45-18) in earlier matches, losing only to Japan (31-45).

While the Republic's best performances were bronze showings in 2006 and 2010, veteran fencer Wang Wenying is confident that her younger team-mates - Aarya Berthier, Cheryl Wong and Nicole Wong - are making good progress.

The 35-year-old said: "I am very proud of how our young team have fought hard, with young fencers like Aarya and Nicole stepping up.

"We are fighting to be on the same level with top teams like China, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong."

National foil coach Simon Senft said the quality of training and their recent performances have instilled confidence in the fencers.

The German said: "My target is to win a medal and even though we did not do it, we are now fifth.

"Our fencers are young and doing well in the cadet tournaments. Our results have been improving and it means we're heading the right way. In two to three years, I'm sure we can make it to the top."

Even though a proposed trip to train with the South Korean national team next week has been cancelled owing to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) outbreak, Senft has reason to be happy.

He said: "In the past, they would have said, 'No, what's the point?' But now every country can see that Singapore is improving and for them to invite us to train with them, it is a good sign."

JEREMY LIM

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2015, with the headline 'Prospects for S'pore's foil team good'. Print Edition | Subscribe