The Star Malaysia

Fencer hans has big dreams

- By KNG Zheng GUAN

PETALING JAYA: Teenager Hans Yoong dreams of becoming a world-class fencer.

The 15-year-old Hans, who competes in the foil category, has already been showcasing his potential of late.

He won a silver in the cadet category (Under17) of the Singapore CadetWorld Cup in January – his first internatio­nal competitio­n this year.

Hans beat Japan’s Hikaru Yamashita in the quarter-finals and Singapore’s Darren Tan in the semi-finals before losing 12-15 to Singapore’s top junior fencer Ryan Ong in the final.

Hans, who trains under five-time SEA Games gold medallist Nontapat Panchan, hopes to keep the momentum going when he competes in the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championsh­ips in Bahrain from Feb 20-29.

“One of my main goals is to win a gold medal at the SEA Games next year and do well at the Asian and World Junior Championsh­ips this year,” he said. “I think I’m on the right track. I’m pretty happy with my recent results, especially at the President’s Cup ... that was my first-ever senior title.”

At the President’s Cup here last December, Hans capped an impressive feat by winning all three events – Cadet, Junior (Under-20) and Open.

The win in the Open category was even more remarkable as he defeated national senior fencer Megat Zuhril Zariman 15-6 in the semi-finals before beating Bryan Cheong for the title.

“It would also be a dream to one day compete in the Olympics ... hopefully in 2020, though I know I’ll need to show a lot more improvemen­t first,” said Hans

“I think I’ve improved quite a bit since I began training with Nontapat three years ago. He pushes me very hard in training and that also drives me to work even harder.”

The 34-year-old Nontapat, who also competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has tipped Hans to push on to greater heights.

“Hans has the potential to be a world class fencer. He has won his first senior title, but he can still improve,” said Nontapat.

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