Vivian Kong, vegan fencer

Vivian has been a trailblazer in her sport of fencing, taking honours across the world.

The left-hander was the 2018 individual Asian champion, and represented Hong Kong in both the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. She won the FIE Women’s Épée World Cup in 2019, bringing a world fencing title to Hong Kong for the first time ever. Vivian won the same title at the next World Cup. Nobody from Hong Kong had won a bout at the Olympics before her either. She finished the 2018-9 season ranked #1 in the world.

Vivian came to fencing following other sports. She earned a Tae Kwon Do black belt as a child then tried ice skating. Her father suggested fencing.

“Fencing is like the ballet of sports, it is very elegant and I really, really liked it” says Vivian. “After competing in my first Olympics in 2016, I realized how much I loved the sport and how much I could improve. I wanted to see how far I could go.”

Recounting her wins in the Olympics, the World Cup win and her ranking, Vivian is pleased with the results. “I think the achievements have been beyond my expectations” she says.

  • Two time World Cup winner
  • World #1 2018-9 season
  • Two time Olympian

Vegan

Vivian had thought about going vegan for a few years before an injury in 2017 helped her take the plunge.

She was pescetarian when she suffered the knee injury.

“After the injury, I wanted to change and be a new person,” she said. “I wanted to recover faster. I kept Googling what foods to eat to recover quickly.” All the research pointed towards plant-based foods and she dropped all animal products from her diet.

“I have all the protein I need. I am recovering a lot faster, I get muscle pain but it goes away really quickly. I have become so much stronger after turning vegan.”

“First of all, I love vegetables. I love fruits and vegetables. It’s not hard for me. I saw all the benefits of being vegan; the ethical, the environmental, the social. All these things I could do to help contribute to a better, a bigger cause. I have all the protein I need.”

Vivian has found benefits come in different ways.

“I am recovering a lot faster, I get muscle pain but it goes away really quickly. I have become so much stronger after turning vegan.”

It’s easy to source it too.

“Being vegan in Hong Kong is terrific! Asian vegan food or vegetarian food is a lot of temple food, and a lot of traditional Chinese dishes made into vegan, vegetarian versions”.

“Tofu is the best because there are so many different ways of using tofu. Like soft tofu, firm tofu and there is sheet tofu. Basically you can make anything out of tofu”.

Fuel for the fight

Fencing is a demanding sport requiring speed and explosive power as well as technique and endurance. The mental side is key too.

In preparation for a major competition, Vivian’s training amounts to three to five hours a day, six days a week. She also trains yoga. “Yoga is great because I love how it combines both physical and mental training as an active form of meditation to help me warmup and focus” she says.

She also builds strength and endurance with bodyweight exercises in the gym.

As she continues to take on new challenges, veganism is a key part of the strategy.

“After going to my first Olympics, I realized that people have a voice. People care about what you say and what you think and what you stand for. As an athlete, I’ve been thinking about what I really care about and what the message is that I want to support. One aspect of my life that I want to show is that I am vegan.”

Instagram @vmkong

Winning the world title

More on Vivian

The Olympic Gold match

More vegans in combat sports

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