Titled in foil on Monday, Cheung Ka Long unleashed a wave of madness in the former British enclave, which the pro-democracy movement has accompanied.
By becoming Olympic foil champion on Monday in Tokyo, Hong Kong’s Cheung Ka Long made his compatriots smile with this first Olympic coronation in 25 years for this autonomous territory of China, a former British enclave, plagued by disputes over Street. The 24-year-old fencer, who had finished only in 14th place in previous Games, created a surprise by beating the final of the men’s foil tournament on Monday, the 2016 Olympic champion, the Italian Daniele Garozzo. The archipelago has so far won only one gold medal, when Lee Lai-Shan won the Mistral windsurfing title in Atlanta in 1996. Hong Kong also won silver in Athens in 2004 in table tennis (men’s doubles) and bronze in track cycling (Lee Wai Sze in women’s keirin) in London in 2012.
“It’s like a dream and to be honest, no matter how calm and collected I seem, I’m not at all! It’s that in fact I don’t know how to react so much it all seems crazy to me», Explained the new Olympic champion after his victory, at Makuhari Mess Hall in Chiba. “In Hong Kong, people are crazy because it is proof to the whole world that we are capable to win Olympic titles. We are after all just a city“. In 1996, for Hong Kong’s previous gold medal, it was still just a British colony and it was the “God save the queenThat sounded in Atlanta. In 1997, the year of Cheung’s birth, Hong Kong was ceded to China: it is therefore the Chinese anthem that we heard on Monday in Chiba.
In Hong Kong, people are crazy because it is proof, in front of the whole world, that we are capable of winning Olympic titles.
Cheung Ka Long
His victory had an incredible echo in his native island where huge pro-democracy protests took place in 2019, violently repressed by the local police. Hundreds of people gathered in a shopping center to watch the Olympic men’s foil final on television, before exploding with joy and, for some, popping champagne corks. At the time of the official medal ceremony, when the Chinese anthem was blown on television, it was covered by chants from spectators clamoring “We are Hong Kong“.
On the side of pro-Chinese leaders, Cheung’s victory was an opportunity to publish several press releases congratulating him, the head of the Hong Kong executive Carrie Lam making a video call to tell him in person. “We are delighted that with his exceptional skills and composure, as well as his perseverance in the face of adversity during competition, he has managed to make Hong Kong history.», She then declared. Pro-democracy leaders, many of whom have emigrated since the 2019 movement, also reacted to the fencer gold medal. Activist Frances Hui posted a video of the medal ceremony, during which the Chinese national anthem is heard replaced by a popular song within the pro-democracy movement. Nathan Law, another pro-democracy leader, who fled to Britain last year, wrote: “Thanks to Ka-long for telling Hong Kong people who are in a bad way that effort and perseverance pays off“.