DEBUT: Peng Kean eager to take on the world’s best
Yu Peng Kean
YU Peng Kean is delighted to be the first Malaysian fencer to compete at the Olympics in 48 years but remains adamant that the trip to London will be more for exposure than challenging for honours. The 21-year-old, who is currently coached by China’s Rao Bin, said qualifying for the London Games on merit was a huge achievement and thathewaslookingtomakethemost of the opportunity to compete with the world’s best.
Peng Kean, who looks up to Russian Olympic bronze medallist Aleksey Yakimenko, qualified for the men’s individual sabre event by virtue of finishing second among Asia-Oceanic fencers who had yet to qualify for London at the end of the cut-off period last March.
“I was over the moon when the Malaysian Fencing Federation (MFF) told me of the news that I had qualified for the Olympics,” said Peng Kean, who has been training in Rome and Guangzhou earlier this year as part of his preparation for Olympics.
“My main objective at the Olympics will be to gain as much experience and exposure competing against the best fencers in the world.
“I expect that the competition will be very tough. However, I definitely will give it my all at the Games. “I am hoping to achieve a top-16 finish which will not be easy as making it past the preliminaries will already be a great challenge.” Besides being the first Malaysian to qualify for the Olympics since fomer MFF president Ronnie Theseira in 1964, the 1.78m Peng Kean was also part of the men’s sabre team that won gold at the Indonesia Sea Games last year to end Malaysia’s 22-year gold drought in the sport at the Games.
• Name: Yu Peng Kean • Date of birth: May 8, 1991 • Place of birth: Malacca • Career Achievements: 2011 Indonesia Sea Games men’s sabre team gold medal, 2011 Asian Fencing Championships, Seoul, South Korea, finished seventh in Men’s individual sabre event • London expectations: Top 16 finish in men’s individual sabre • Competition dates: July 29