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Swimming

Tokyo Olympics - Siobhan Haughey wins Hong Kong's first-ever swimming medal in Olympics

Siobhan Haughey won the silver medal in the 200m Freestyle event

Siobhan Haughey after winning silver medal at Tokyo Olympics
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Siobhan Haughey Tokyo Olympics (Source: Reuters)

By

Manish Sharma

Updated: 2021-07-28T13:41:05+05:30

Tokyo Olympics has so far been the stage of many historic and record-breaking events especially in the sport of swimming. The likes of Kaylee McKeown, Ahmed Hafnaoui, Katie Ledecky, and Kristof Milak have already etched their names in history books.

On Day 5, the stage was set for history to be made once again and this time it was the turn of a certain Siobhan Haughey from Hong Kong.

Here's a look at the 23-year-old who has made her country proud at the biggest stage of them all.

Creating History: Siobhan Haughey

Siobhan Haughey from Hong Kong who was competing in the 200m Freestyle event, knew that if she wins a medal in the finals it would be the first for her country in swimming. The 23-year-old was impressive in the semifinals and was second fastest ahead of the likes of Katie Ledecky and Junxuan Yang.

However, going into the finals the event was still touted to be another round of the Titmus vs Ledecky battle at the Tokyo Olympics. Instead, once the finals started it became all about Titmus vs Haughey, with the Hong Kong international in the lead till the 150m mark. But as we have seen before, Titmus had a strong finish to win the race.

Siobhan Haughey might have missed out on the gold but still created history with a first medal in swimming for her country. Her timing of 1:53.92 in the finals was also a new Asian Record.

Haughey initially hated swimming

Siobhan started swimming at the age of five. She initially used to go for swimming lessons with her sister Aisling Haughey, who has also represented Hong Kong in World Cup events. For Siobhan, the sport was just a hobby but it was the coaches who identified her talent for the sport.

Siobhan Haughey in 200m Freestyle final (Source: Reuters)

"When I was younger, I really hated swimming. Different coaches told my parents I had talent and I shouldn't give up swimming. The more I swam, the more I realized I actually liked swimming." said the athlete in an interview in 2015. Siobhan was also helped by the fact that her parents used to love swimming and they lived in a building that had a pool as well.

Foot injury halting progress

Siobhan had all the potential required to succeed in swimming and she started to convert that potential into performance from an early age. She won two silver medals at the Youth Olympic Games in the 100m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley.

She then went on to win bronze in both the 4*100m freestyle relay and 4*200m freestyle relay event at the 2014 Asian Games and in 2016 she made her debut in the Olympics at Rio.

But right at the end of 2017, Siobhan started experiencing problems in her foot which had an impact on her preparations for the National Collegiate Athletic Association [NCAA] Championships in 2018.

The injury was frustrating for the athlete because of the fact that she consulted eight specialists and none of them were able to identify the root cause of her injury.

It was finally in May 2018, as her coach recommended an acupuncturist in Hong Kong, when she found out that it was an inflamed cartilage around her ankle and it led to her pulling out of the 2018 Asian Games.

Siobhan then slowly and steadily started her recovery and the COVID-19 pandemic provided her with additional time she needed to change her training to deal with the injury.

Haughey qualified for Tokyo with a time of 1:54.89 at the Olympic trails. But little did she know, that after all the struggles she will be creating history at the Tokyo Olympics.

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