Fencer Hans aspires high in Notre Dame

PETALING JAYA: Hans Yoong has been training in a university that specialises in fencing and that has given him a competitive edge – but he knows it is not enough.

His training at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, where he is studying, has yielded results as can be seen from his silver medal in the Philippines SEA Games. He fought valiantly in his final bout against Thailand’s Mayakarn Chornnasun – before settling for second place.

Hans knows that’s a far cry from his real wish – to earn a place in the Olympics.

The 19-year-old said he would look to boost his mental side of the game and also look for ways to enhance his stamina to be a feared fencer in the years to come.

“I am now being coached by Buckie Leach and Gia Kvaratskhelia. In just under two months, I have learned many things and because of the competitive environment there, my confidence in competitions has been boosted, ” said the right-handed fencer.

“The Olympics will not be an easy mission, but I will be doing all I can outside of fencing to give myself an edge. That would be attending physiotherapy and psychology sessions.

“Physically, I will be undergoing intense conditioning training to boost my stamina – basically a lot of running and other fitness exercises. I have a conditioning coach at Notre Dame, so I will be following her workouts.”

As he is ranked 251st in the world, Hans said it would be a tough task to qualify on his rankings but would look for competitive exposure before the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers on April 15 in Seoul, South Korea.

“I will be taking part in five tournaments before the qualifiers, of which three will give me ranking points. However, I fear it may be too little time to collect points and qualify.

“Instead, I will be attending these tournaments to prepare for the qualifiers in April.

“The competitions that I will be taking part in are the Junior World Cup on Jan 26, Qatar Foil Grand Prix from Feb 7 to 9, Asian Junior Championships on March 3, Anaheim Foil Grand Prix from March 13-15 and the World Championships on April 6.”

Hans he believes that he is capable of doing his best in all the tournaments. “Right now, I feel I have everything I need to push myself towards this goal.

“Winning the SEA Games silver has given me that boost.

“The Olympics is possibly the highest target one can achieve. So, my current short term goal is to get into the Olympics. From there, I will see what needs to be done to progress in my career.”

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