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ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP BIGGEST EVER

As expected, the Amateur Fencing Association of Thailand organized a successful 2018 Asian Fencing Championships (AFC). It was held at the Thamasssat University in Bangkok from June 17 to 22, 2018. The main hall housed the four colored pistes and the final podium while 16 pistes were laid out in the adjacent hall. Entries were at a record high of 417 participants from 32 countries including Australia and New Zealand.

The competition was ably conducted by seasoned DTs Gordon Christie from Australia and Sompon Sridsodai of Thailand. Claus Janka of the FIE Referee Commission was assisted by FCA Referee Commission President, Eyad Maghayreh to supervise the referees. This year's AFC can be considered as a sneak peek at the possible results of the Asian Games which will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia in August later this year.

Hong Kong drew first blood on the first day of competition when Cheung Siu Lun won the gold medal match against Korean Heo Jun in the finals of the Menís Individual Foil event with a convincing 15/7 win. Cheung earned a berth in the finals after he beat the other Korean semi-finalist, Ha Taegyu 15/9 while Heo beat Huang Mengkai, also from Hong Kong 15/10.

Korea however, won the other gold medal at stake when Kim Jiyeon beat Chinese fencer Qian Jiarui by a huge 15/5 margin in Women's Individual Sabre. Before meeting up with Qian, Kim took out team mate, CHOI Sooyeon in the semi-finals after a close 15/13 match while Qian beat Lam Hin Wai of Hong Kong 15/8.

On the second day of competition, Korean Jung Jinsun improved on his bronze medal finish from last year's championships when he won gold against Alexanin Dmitriy of Kazakhstan in Men's Individual Epee. Before beating Alexanin 15/12, Jung beat Fong Hoi Sun of Hong Kong 15/11 in the semis. Alexanin on the otherhand narrowly beat Kano Koki of Japan 15/14.

Japan's lone gold medal in this year's championships was won by Kikuchi Komaki in Women's Individual Foil. She went up against Korean Jeon Hee Sook in the finals and closed out the bout 15/10. Before going into the finals, both Kikuchi and Jeon had very close semi-final matches. Kikuchi narrowly beat Nam Hyunhee 15/14 who is still recovering from knee surgery, while Jeon beat Chinese fencer Fu Yiting 7/6 after time ran out.

On day three, 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Gu Bongil of Korea became back-to-back champion in Men's Individual Sabre after he successfully defeated his team mate Kim Junghwan 15/12. Gu defeated lone Iranian finalist, Ali Pakdaman in the semi-finals 15/13, while Kim Junghwan beat another Korean, Kim Junhoo 15/12.

Meanwhile the Women's Individual Epee finals almost had a repeat of last year's result after Kong Man Wai Vivian of Hong Kong and Korean Kang Young Mi both won their semi-finals bouts. This time however, Kong came out on top after she beat Kang 10 to 9. In the semi-finals, Kong beat Lee Hyein of Korea 15/14 while the other Hong Kong semi-finalist, Hsieh Kaylin Sin Yan lost to Kang 14/12.

On the fourth day, Korea won its fourth gold medal after it beat the Hong Kong Men's Foil Team 45/39. The Koreans earned their place in the finals after they beat Australia 45/36 while Hong Kong beat Japan 45/40 in the other semi-final match. Though two bronze medals are awarded in the Asian Fencing Championships, the third place match had to be played to determine who get the FIE points for third place. Japan earned the third place points after they beat the Australians 45/31.

In Women's Team Sabre, China earned another gold medal after they beat the Korean team 45/42. The Koreans beat Hong Kong in the first semi-finals 45/30 while China had a convincing win against Kazakhstan 45/28. The third place spot eventually went to Kazahkstan after they beat Hong Kong 45/42.

In Men's Epee Team, China earned its second gold medal after an exciting match in the finals against Kazakhstan on day five. The Chinese edged out their opponent with a 45/44 finish. The Kazakhstan team beat Korea 45/39 in the semi-finals while China beat Uzbekistan 45/40 in the second semi-finals. The Uzbeks then went on to take third place, beating the Koreans 45/43.

The Korean Women's Foil Team avenged their Men's Epee Team when it came out on top after a nail biting 45/44 bout againts the Japanese team. China on the otherhand convincingly took third place after it beat the Hong Kong women's foil team 40/21. In the semi-finals Korea had an easy win againt the Hong Kong Team 45/18 unlike the other semi-finals between China and Japan that ended at 43/42 before Japan came on top.

Team China had a strong finish on the last day of competition when they won both gold medals in Men's Team Sabre and Women's Team Epee. China beat Iran 45/41 in the Men's event while the women had a closer match that finished at 35/34 against the Hong Kong Women's Epee team.

China beat first seed Korean Men's Sabre Team in the first semi-finals 45/43 while Iran had an easier win against the Japanese team 45/21 in the other semi-finals match. The Koreans then took third place after they beat Japan 45/31.

The Chinese Women's Epee team had easy win over Japan in the semi-finals ending the bout at 45/15 while Hong Kong took out the Koreans 45/40. The Koreans then went on to take third place at 45/33.

Korea once again dominated the Asian Fencing Championships but China made sure that they were not too far behind. Korea came up short of their 7 gold medal haul last year by coming up with only 5 this year coming in close is China with 4 golds. Hong Kong and Japan were also in the gold medal tally with 2 and 1 each.

Improving on their performance from last year. A total of eight countries made it to the medal tally, summarized below: