Sports stars give a community happiness, hope, inspiration and identity. Siobhan Haughey has provided Hong Kong that and more with her remarkable swimming achievements this year. The two-times Tokyo Olympic Games silver medallist has furthered her claim of international greatness by taking two gold medals and a bronze at the world short-course championships in Abu Dhabi, in the process setting a record in the 200 metres freestyle event. These are personal triumphs that most athletes can only dream of, but offer motivation to all in the city who aspire to be the best at what they do, no matter what their discipline or endeavour. Haughey, 24, was born in Hong Kong to a Caucasian Irish father and Chinese mother. Her particular genetic circumstances have enabled a height advantage, extra centimetres often giving an edge in the swimming pool. But that alone does not make a great swimmer. As all who know her have said, she is also hard-working, dedicated, determined, focused and calm. Coupled with the right coaching, training and support, that has enabled world-class performances. Her 200m freestyle short course record of 1:50.31 bettered the previous fastest by .12 of a second. She now holds the world titles for the stroke in a 25m pool at 100m and 200m. ‘Chaotic and crazy, but so much fun’: Haughey reflects on Tokyo success Hong Kong has not before experienced such accolades in a major sporting discipline. Haughey is the city’s first swimming world record holder and athlete in any sport to win two Olympic medals. Not since Australian legend Ian Thorpe at Athens in 2004 has anyone taken medals at the 100m, 200m and 400m in freestyle competition at a world championships or Olympics. She is still considered young by swimming standards and the experts contend that she is likely to scale even greater heights. Her swimming career has not been without challenges; she once had an ankle injury that flared up without obvious cause leaving her barely able to swim or walk, and goals set have not always been attained. But her success offers a message: follow your dreams and don’t let setbacks discourage you. If we have potential, are determined, focused, and have support from family, friends and professionals, the possibilities are endless.