Smiling Assassin Shen Chen shocks Olympic champ
Shen Chen did not answer directly when asked about clinching the individual women's sabre title at the Asian Fencing Championships at the OCBC Arena yesterday.
The 24-year-old only said: "I want to congratulate all of today's participants; they've worked really hard and showed a lot of determination.
"Everyone has done well, and I also want to thank my teammates and supporters who cheered me on throughout my matches."
But the smile that stretched from ear to ear throughout the victory ceremony and never left Shen Chen's face, even as she beckoned to her fellow medallists to join her for group photographs, said it all.
The Chinese was just coming off the high of stunning 2012 Olympic champion Kim Ji Yeon en route to winning her first individual gold medal of the Asian Fencing Championships.
After edging out South Korea's Kim 15-14 in the semi-finals, Shen Chen went on to defeat Japan's Chika Aoki 15-7 for the women's sabre title.
Still grinning widely, Shen Chen said: "Last year, I was placed only third and this year, I'm in first place."
On her rivalry with world No. 10 Kim, Shen Chen, ranked 17th, added: "Kim is always a tough opponent. She's an Olympic champion, so she is very strong.
"Last year, we (China) beat South Korea in the women's sabre team event but, every time we meet in individual events, it's always a tough fight."
LEFT TO RUE
Last year's winner Kim rued her narrow loss, but is ready to move on and go for gold in the women's sabre team event.
Speaking through a translator, Kim, 27, said: "I'm disappointed of course, but I will try harder.
"I've won the individual gold already and last year, we didn't get the team gold, so this year we want it more than ever."
Standing in the Koreans' way will be Shen Chen and her teammates, who are eager to retain their team gold.
Shen Chen is also looking ahead to future meets - such as next month's World Championships in Moscow and next year's Olympics.
"This win will definitely give me more confidence, especially for the Olympics," said Shen Chen, who has targeted a podium finish for the Rio Games.
"And I believe I will perform better in future competitions."
This win will definitely give me more confidence, especially for the Olympics.
— China's Shen Chen, after winning the individual women's sabre title at the Asian Fencing Championships yesterday
Cramps, but Jiao still stuns the favourite
JUMP FOR JOY: China's Jiao Yunlong (left) celebrating after beating South Korea's Park Kyoung Doo, who
is ranked 101 places above him, to take the men's epee individual title.
China's Jiao Yunlong stunned South Korea's world No. 6 Park Kyoung Doo 11-10 to take the men's epee individual title at the Asian Fencing Championships yesterday.
Jiao, who is ranked 101 places below his opponent at No. 107, had been momentarily sidelined by cramps in his leg nearing the end of the final, but persevered to pull off the upset.
"The cramps did not really affect my performance, as I had taken a medical time-out," said Jiao. "In that situation, all I could do was keep going and stay focused."
Focus was a key part of the 27-year-old's game plan, as he revealed that he did not expect to beat Park, who won the bronze medal at last year's Asian Fencing Championships.
Said Jiao: "I honestly didn't expect to win, as he (Park) is a very formidable and accomplished opponent.
"When I took the stage, I just wanted to take it one point at a time, and make sure I enjoyed the process. "During the match, my mind was just completely focused, so I think that was an important part of why I won."
China's Shen Chen, who won the gold in the women's sabre individual event, has set her sights on a top-three finish at next year's Olympic Games in Rio.
When asked if he has intentions of succeeding in Rio as well, Jiao would say only: "I don't know if I'll be competing in the Olympics... I'm just going to take it one step at a time."