Japan’s Yuki Ota will be bidding to defend his men’s individual foil title at the Asian Fencing Championships, which are set to begin in the Chinese city of Wuxi tomorrow.
If he manages to achieve the feat at the six-day event, it will mark the second time in his career he has won the honour at consecutive editions of the Championships having previously set a streak of three successive wins between 2007 and 2009.
South Korea’s Heo Jun triumphed in the individual foil in 2013 and 2014 and a third victory would put him second behind Ota for the most wins in the event since 2003.
Chinese fencers have won the individual foil a tournament-high five times since 2003, but their last success came back in 2012 when Lei Sheng, the Olympic champion, claimed the gold medal.
Lei’s compatriot Jiao Yunlong is the reigning champion in the men’s individual épée, an event that had been won by either a Korean or a Kazakh fencer at the 11 Championships prior to last year's.
Jung Jin-Sun of South Korea has won three of the last five individual épée gold medals at the Asian Championships, with Kazakhstan’s Elmir Alimzhanov winning the 2013 edition.
The men’s individual sabre has been won by a Korean fencer at the last seven Asian Championships with Gu Bon-Gil claiming four titles, Kim Jung-Hwan securing two and Won Woo-Young taking one.
Last year, Kim dethroned Gu, who had won the event in three straight years from 2012 to 2014.
China’s Zhong Man was the last non-Korean fencer to claim the individual sabre crown when he won the gold medal in 2008.
Kazakhstan can win the men’s team épée at consecutive Asian Championships for the first time since they made it back-to-back wins in 2005.
China are aiming to win the men’s team foil event for the 10th time since 2003, while South Korea are vying for a fourth successive men’s team sabre crown.
Xu Anqi of China will be looking to become the first person to defend the women’s individual épée title since compatriot Li Na achieved the feat in 2008.
South Korea’s Jeon Hee-Sook is the holder of the women’s individual foil, but she can expect a strong challenge from countrywoman Nam Hyun-Hee, who has won five of the last seven gold medals.
Kim Ji-Yeon, another South Korean, will be aiming to bounce back from last year’s disappointment of being dethroned as the women’s individual sabre champion by China’s Shen Chen.
South Korea are the reigning champions in the women’s team épée, women’s team foil and women’s team sabre.
The event counts towards qualification for this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.