Win­ner fi­nally gets her din­ner

The New Paper - - SPORTS - NI­COLE CHIA

S’pore teen Denyse Chan wins women’s foil ti­tle in HK af­ter spend­ing over 12 hours in com­pe­ti­tion hall

Denyse Chan’s first thought af­ter win­ning the women’s foil ti­tle on the Hong Kong Asian Cadet Cir­cuit on Mon­day was that she could fi­nally have din­ner.

Laugh­ing as she re­called spend­ing over 12 hours in the com­pe­ti­tion hall, the 15-yearold Sin­ga­porean told The Straits Times yes­ter­day: “I was re­ally happy but I was also just (re­lieved) it was over, be­cause it was a re­ally long com­pe­ti­tion and long process.”

She came from be­hind to beat Hong Kong’s Janelle Le­ung 15-11 in the semi-fi­nals, then rode that wave of con­fi­dence to de­feat the lat­ter’s com­pa­triot Daphne Chan 15-2 to win the foil ti­tle in the Un­der-17 cat­e­gory.

Sin­ga­pore also re­turned with two sil­vers (Jonathan Lim in the men’s foil and Si­mon Lee in the men’s epee) and two bronzes (Rachel Lim and Max Neo in the women’s and men’s foil).

Over 200 ath­letes from more than 10 coun­tries fea­tured in the Dec 3-4 com­pe­ti­tion.

Trail­ing 4-8 in the semi-fi­nal, Denyse lev­elled the score only for her op­po­nent to take the lead again. The Sin­ga­porean then found her­self down 8-11, and dug deep to reach the fi­nal.

Ex­plain­ing how she wore Janelle down de­spite hav­ing never fenced against the Hong Konger be­fore, Denyse said: “Af­ter each point, whether it was a point (awarded) to her or to me, I would take a walk to the side so I could think about what I wanted to do be­fore the bout started again.

“I didn’t want to rush the at­tack and end up get­ting counter-at­tacked. By tak­ing it slow, I think she also got a bit worn out.

“I just kept my spir­its up and told my­self to keep fight­ing, that this isn’t the end... as I slowly started to catch up, she also started to get frus­trated and that made the dif­fer­ence.”

Though she had beaten Daphne on the two oc­ca­sions that they had met, Denyse did not feel she had an eas­ier job in the fi­nal as the score for both those in­stances was 15-14.

But tri­umph­ing in the tricky semi-fi­nal, which she de­scribed as “a bit more stress­ful”, gave the Raf­fles Girls’ School stu­dent an ex­tra shot of con­fi­dence.

“I was kind of feed­ing off the con­fi­dence from (win­ning) my semi-fi­nal bout, and I was telling my­self that I’ve got this,” said Denyse, who cel­e­brated with a din­ner of fried rice and chicken.

The teenager ar­rived home yes­ter­day, and will re­sume train­ing to­day in prepa­ra­tion for next month’s women’s foil Ju­nior World Cup in Za­greb.

She hopes to qual­ify for next year’s Asian Fenc­ing Cham­pi­onships, for which she feels her vic­tory in Hong Kong has given her an idea of what to ex­pect.

“Gen­er­ally speak­ing, ath­letes from the same na­tion have sim­i­lar fenc­ing styles,” she said.

“(This win) will also get me rank­ing points for the Asian Cadet rank­ings, which will help in seed­ing for fu­ture tour­na­ments.”

“I was re­ally happy but I was also just (re­lieved) it was over, be­cause it was a

... long process.”

cni­[email protected]

PHOTO: COUR­TESY OF SI­MON SENFT

(From left) Hong Kong’s Daphne Chan, Sin­ga­porean Denyse Chan, Janelle Le­ung of Hong Kong and Sin­ga­porean Rachel Lim at the Hong Kong Asian Cadet Cir­cuit for Un­der-17 fencers on Mon­day. Denyse won the women’s foil ti­tle af­ter beat­ing Daphne 15-2 in the fi­nal.

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