The 24-year-old thanked those who had cheered him on as he won the men’s individual foil event on Monday, saying it has taken him some time to wrap his head around the fact that he is now a champion.
“I didn’t expect that I could achieve this, because previous Olympic champions were very accomplished in the world… or more experienced,” he said.
Cheung said it was a good thing that the Games were postponed for a year, so he had time to get into better shape for the matches.
“During 2020-2021, many things happened. I didn’t do well and lost my ranking as one of the top 16 players… I wondered if I had what it took and if I couldn’t improve anymore,” he said.
“My coach and I talked a lot, and I’m very happy I finally found my way of fencing.”
Cheung said although he didn’t play against many fencers from other countries last year, his coach arranged team matches for him with other local fencers.
The athlete said it is not the time to relax yet as he has to focus on the men’s foil team quarter-finals on Sunday morning.
Cheung’s dad, meanwhile, told RTHK he was too thrilled to fall asleep on Monday night, adding that he was happy that his son dedicated the medal to him as a birthday gift.
He praised his son for remaining calm during the matches, saying that was his key to success.
“He was emotional at the last Games in Rio. He would get quite excited after winning… he would get upset if he didn’t do very well in the past,” he said.
“I don’t see him being like that now. That’s why he had a stable performance.”
He said that was thanks to his son’s two coaches, adding that he and his wife, who were both basketball players, also taught the fencer how to mentally prepare for competitions.
But he said they will have to wait until late September to be able to celebrate with the athlete, as he will head straight to the mainland for the National Games of China.