Over three hundred fencers from all over Asia converge at the Chiba Port Arena in Japan for the 2019 Asian Fencing Champpionships. A total of 372 fencers from 28 countries were registered compared to last year's 417 from 32 countries. Though there was huge drop in participation to this years continental championships, it didn't make the fencing competition any less intense.
Host Japan came out charging on the first day by securing a spot in both of the gold medal matches for the day. In the Men's Individual Foil, Takahiro Shikine beat team mate Toshiya Saito in the semi-finals after a close 15-13 match while Cheung Ka Long of Hong Kong had a convincing 15-5 win over China's Chen Haiwei. Shikine then gave Japan its first gold medal after beating Cheung 15-13 in the finals, much to delight of the local audience. Not to be outdone, Korea, earned its first gold medal courtesy of Yoon Jisu in the Women's Individual Sabre event against Japanese Norika Tamura 15-10. Yoon beat last year's champion Kim Jiyeon after a very close 15-14 bout in the semi-finals while Tamura team mate, Shihomi Fukushima 15-10.
On the second day of competition, two fencers from China and two from Korea secured the top 4 spots in the Women's Individual Epee. Zhu Mingye of China went against Choi Injeong of Korea and won her bout 15-12 while Lin Sheng also from China won against the other Korean, Kang Young Mi 15-11. Zhu came out the eventual winner after narrowly beating her team mate 9-8 in the finals. World No. 4, Oh Sanguk delivered the second gold medal for Korea after beating Wang Shi from China 15-10 in the finals of Men's Individual Sabre. Oh took out fellow Korean Ha Hansol 15-12 in the semi-finals while Wang had a more comfortable win over Iranian fencer Mojtaba Abedini 15-10.
The Japanese Men's Epee team secured an all Japanese finals in the individual event when Masaru Yamada and Satoru Uyama both won their semi-final bouts. Yamada earned the first semi-final slot after he beat Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Nhat 15-11 while Uyama won against Ruslan Kurbanov of Kazakhstan also 15-11. Yamada came out victorious in the end after a 15-13 win over his team mate in the final match. In Women's Individual Foil, 2018 World Junior and Cadet champion, Yuka Ueno earned the first final slot when she won against Chen Qinyuan from China 15-11. In the second semi-finals Korean Jeon Hee Sook took out Japanese fencer Sera Azuma in a very close 13-12 match. Eventually, the gold went to the more experienced Jeon 9-7.
On the first day of the team events, the host country won its third gold medal after the Japanese Men's Foil Team dominated the Chinese team in the finals after a close 45-43 win. The bronze medals went to Korea who lost to China 45-33 while Hong Kong lost to Japan 36-45 in their semi-final matches. In the Women's Team Sabre event, Japan and Kazakhstan could only manage to finish with bronze medals after they lost their semi-final matches. Japan lost to China 34-45 while Korea had a more convincing 45-15 win over Kazakhstan. The Chinese team came out on top in the end with a 45-38 finish earning China its second gold medal of the Championships.
Korea dominated the fifth day of competition when it won both golds in the Men's Team Sabre and Women's Team Epee events. The Men's Sabre Team finals was neck and neck between Korean and Iran until Korea finally came on top with 42-45. The bronze medals went to China who lost to Iran 34-45 and Japan who lost to Korea 37-45 in the semis. Korea's Women's Epee Team had a more comfortable 45-30 win over China in the finals while Hong Kong and Japan settled with the bronze medals. Korea beat Hong Kong in the semi-finals 45-31 while Japan lost 35-45 to the Chinese team.
On the sixth and final day, host Japan continued their surge when the Japanese Women's Foil Team avenged their narrow defeat last year against the Koreans with a very comfortable 45-29 win. Bronze medal honors went to China who lost to the Japanese 23-30 in the semi-finals and Hong Kong who lost to Korea after a nail biting match that ended with a score of 33-34. China on the otherhand, repeated their gold medal finish from last year's Men's Team Epee event after beating Korea 45-41. China earned a berth in the finals after they beat Japan in the semi-finals 41-45 while the Koreans beat Kazakhstan after a very close 43-44 victory.
The Koreans once again dominated this year's Zonal Championships finishing with 5 golds, 3 silvers and 5 bronze medals. The Japanese team however, are not too far behind with 4 golds, 3 silvers and 7 bronzes. China came in third with 3 golds 4 silvers and 4 bronzes. Others included in the medal tally were Hong Kong with 1 silver and 3 bronzes, Iran with 1 silver and 1 bronze, Kazakhstan with 3 bronze medals and Vietnam with 1 bronze.
The next Asian Championships will be held next year in Seoul, Korea right after the Olympic qualifiying event for Tokyo 2020.