Koh sharpens his swords in Pisa before SEA Games battle


NATIONAL fencer Joshua Koh I-Jie is banking on a six-week training stint at Pisa, Italy, to horn his skills and boost his confidence ahead of the upcoming Philippines SEA Games.

The 28-year-old epee discipline fencer, set for another training stint under Master Enrico Di Ciolo at the Club Scherma Antonio Di Ciolo from this Sunday, after numerous stints from 2009 till 2016, wants to ensure he returns with a medal from the Philippines.

“At this moment, my confidence is not high, but I believe after my training with higher level fencers, I will be more confident and comfortable. I would be able to spar with some of the Italian internationals, who are training at the club.

“Italy is an ideal place because it is a fencing powerhouse, they not only have top fencers, but they have a lot of fencers to help improve our level. The problem in Malaysia is, we only have limited number of fencers here,” he told Bernama in Kuala Lumpur (KL) yesterday.

Koh, who is ranked world No 165 and currently ranked third in South- East Asia behind Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Nhat (65) and Nguyen Phuoc Den (154), said he feels no pressure in being Malaysia’s only medal prospect.

He who has been active in fencing since 2003, won the team event bronze medal in his SEA Games debut at 2007 Korat, before claiming the individual gold and team bronze at the 2011 Indonesian edition and the individual event bronze at the 2017 KL SEA Games.

He only failed to bring back a medal from the 2015 Singapore edition, while fencing was not contested at the 2009 Laos and 2013 Myanmar editions.

In his two Asian Games effort, Koh only managed to progress till the Round of 32 at the 2010 edition and Round of 16 last year.