Team Singapore's Lau Ywen (L) in action against Indonesia's Diah Permatasari during the Women's Sabre Individual preliminary round (Photo by Vivek Prakash / Sports Singapore)
Singapore’s 14-year-old fencing prodigy earned a place in the last 16 in the women’s sabre at the Asian Games on Saturday, after picking up two victories in the preliminary round.
A recent Gold medallist in the Southeast Asia Fencing Cadet (U-17) Championships this year, Lau Ywen was the youngest competitor in the event and showed exactly why she is so highly rated for the future.
After suffering three opening defeats to experienced opponents, including Olympic gold medal winner Kim Jiyeon, Lau bounced back in style with a 5-0 win over 25-year-old Yundendori Ariunzaya of Mongolia before winning an exciting bout with Nguyen Thi Thanh Loan of Vietnam 5-4.
Those wins secured Lau a place in the last 16, who was given a tough draw against third-ranked Lee Rajin of South Korea. That was always going to be a difficult task for the teenager from Asgard Fencing Club, but she put up a brave fight, never lacking in confidence or ambition as she went out 15-4.
Team Singapore's Lau Ywen (L) celebrates winning a point against Viernam's Nguyen Thi le Dung during the Women's Sabre Individual preliminary round (Photo by Prakash / Sports Singapore)
For Lau, this Asian Games was clearly an early step in her very promising career.
“I think I fenced well. I was a little unsure during the first two bouts but then I got used to it. It’s really fun being here, really exciting, the atmosphere is incredible,” said Lau.
She adds “First, for me it is about the experience. Some of the competitors here will also be at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games next year so that is a bonus.
A winner of the recent Singapore International this year and having earned a fifth place finish in the senior Southeast Asian Fencing Championships, Lau believes that being the youngest fencer in the category in some ways helped her deal with the tension of competition.
“It takes a bit of pressure off because I am younger and I will have more chances at the next Asian Games. But for now, I just want to learn from this experience and grow as a fencer,” she said.