Professional fencer Vivian Kong has earned gold at the Asian Fencing Championships, becoming the first woman from Hong Kong to receive a top medal in the competition. In 2017, Kong suffered a debilitating knee injury that forced her to rethink her diet. “After the injury, I wanted to change and be a new person,” Kong said. “I wanted to recover faster. I kept Googling what foods to eat to recover quickly.” Kong, then pescatarian, explained that her research led her to plant-based foods, and she decided to eschew all animal products from her diet to aid in her recovery. Kong received a bronze medal at a competition in Cuba several months after her injury, an accomplishment Kong’s family said fell short of gold due to the lack of meat in her diet. “I was really sad about that Cuba performance already,” Kong said, “and then they blamed it on my diet.” Kong hopes to work with David Yeung, founder of Hong Kong-based mindful living organization Green Monday, to promote plant-based diets to other athletes. “I can be an example to show it’s possible,” Kong said, “and it’s more motivation for me to work harder, have better results, and tell my story about how eating plant-based foods made me better and made me feel better, too.” The 24-year-old athlete is currently training to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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