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Epee Fencer Wang Lei
    2008-07-22 17:15:56     CRIENGLISH.com

When the young Chinese epee fencer Wang Lei made his debut at the 2004 Athens Olympics, no one expected him to win any medals. However, he did a very good job and even beat the champion of the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the semi-finals. At the end of the competition, he finished at the second place.

Having won an Olympic silver medal, Wang Lei is now preparing actively for the upcoming Beijing Olympics, hoping he can put up an even better performance. Our reporter Chen Zhe has more.


Wang Lei [photo source: xinhuanet.com]

 
You can easily spot Wang Lei in a group of fencing athletes because he is bigger than the others. His appearance has earned him the nickname, "Fatso Wang." But Wang Lei does not mind it.

"I don't think I am fat because I have got used to my weight since childhood. I don't take it as a burden, though my coach believes I can do better if I lose some weight."

Wang Lei was not the best athlete in Chinese national fencing team. He always finished at the second or third place in national and international competitions.

In 2004, Wang Lei got his first chance to participate in the Olympic Games. With a slight advantage, he won in the quarter-finals, 15-14, and successfully advanced to the men's individual epee semi-finals.

His opponent in the semi-finals was Russian fencer Pavel Kolobkov, the champion of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Compared to his opponent, Wang Lei was a small potato ranked 27th in the world. However, Wang Lei won the match. It was beyond everyone's expectation, including his own.

"I didn't feel any pressure during the competition, so I moved around freely. In fact, I was quite satisfied at having the chance to participate in the Olympics C which was something I had dreamt of for several years. I had never thought I would enter the semi-finals."

In the finals, Wang Lei met an old opponent - Marcel Fischer from Switzerland.

"Before the Athens Olympics, I had faced him in an international competition in South Korea. There, I beat him easily by 5-0. So I was very glad to face him in the finals, thinking I would win again. I saw the hope of winning an Olympic gold medal."
But this time, he failed. He was too anxious to win, thus Marcel Fischer got lots of chances to win points. The final score was 15-9.

Wang Lei's debut at the Olympics ended with a silver medal. Even though that was the best result for a Chinese athlete in men's epee, Wang Lei was very disappointed.

As an Olympic silver medalist, Wang Lei became one of the biggest hopefuls for China in epee.

However, he did not perform well after the Athens Olympics since athletes researched his technique and found ways to defeat him. He even slipped out of a list of top 32 players in a national competition. Thus people began to doubt Wang Lei's ability as an epee fencer, saying his Athens Olympics feat was just a fluke.

To all this talk, Wang Lei replied with a smile.

"I have got used to such things. I'm not concerned by it at all. The only thing I have to do is to think about how I can perform better at the upcoming Beijing Olympics."

At the Epee 2006 World Fencing Championships held in Turin, Wang Lei proved his ability again by winning the gold medal in men's individual epee. He was very happy for it was his first gold medal in an international competition.

"I am very glad to win the gold medal here, in this city. Because its name Turin sounds like 'Dou Ling' in Chinese, which means every wish will be realized."

What Wang Lei wants to realize is not just his own dream, but his mother's last wish C that he be a good fencer. For this, he will go all out to pursue the Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. And if he does succeed, the gold medal would be the best gift for his mother in heaven.

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