PETALING JAYA: For Hans Yoong, losing in the quarter-final of the individual foil in the 2017 SEA Games was a bitter pill to swallow.
Only 17 at the time, he was distraught that he did not win a medal for his home nation.
Two years later, the 19-year-old won silver in the Philippines SEA Games and fought valiantly in his final bout against Thailand’s Mayakarn Chornnasun.
He was certainly close to a gold medal as he only lost by a point, 14-15. What made his achievement sweeter was the fact that he beat two much-fancied fencers before the final.
In the quarter-final, Hans beat Vietnam’s Nguyen Ming Guan, who was the silver medallist in 2015.
In the semi-final, he beat Philippines’ Nathaniel Perez, who won the silver medal in the 2017 SEA Games.
"After 2017, I knew I was going to train to the best of my ability and I told myself that the next SEA Games would be the one," he said.
"It’s been a tough time juggling both academics and fencing especially since I was in the midst of applying to different universities.
"As of now, I am studying at the University of Notre Dame in the United States and its team boasts multiple world-class fencers. I believe the past three months' training with these fencers was definitely crucial to my silver medal this time."
Hans has said that he will not stop in his quest to do well in the sport, as he is eyeing the Olympics next year.
"It is going to be hectic next year. With so many resources (training) at my disposal, I will be attempting to qualify for the Olympics next year.
"Leading up to the Olympics, I will be attending FIE fencing tournaments such as the World Cup and Grand Prix to gain points for my Olympic qualification."
Hans also believes that the Malaysian fencing team will only get better in the future.
"The team this time around is pretty young and they may not be as experienced as me or other senior players but the younger fencers have displayed tremendous potential and I believe they will make Malaysia proud in the near future."