Teen swim star Siobhan Haughey qualifies for Rio Olympic Games with Hong Kong record
Siobhan Haughey became the first swimmer from Hong Kong to make the Olympic qualifying A standard after reaching the semi-finals of the women’s 200-metre individual medley at the world championships in Kazan, Russia, on Sunday.
Haughey was fifth in her heat in two minutes, 13.07 seconds, good enough to book a place in next year’s Rio Olympic Games and bettering her Hong Kong record.
The Olympic qualifying standard is 2:14.26. In her semi-final at the world championships, she could not better her heat time, finishing seventh in 2:13.26.
The 17-year-old student, who will leave for the University of Michigan at the end of the month to further her studies, had been confident of making the cut after setting a Hong Kong record in 2:13.21 at the Asian Games in Incheon last year.
That result did not come in the Olympic qualification period, March 1, 2015, through to July 3, 2016 at Fina approved events.
Former Hong Kong Olympian Sherry Tsai Hiu-wai said Haughey’s success was a marvellous result for the sport.
“[Haughey] is just wonderful as we can have the first Hong Kong swimmer attend the Olympic Games with an A standard,” said Tsai, who swum for Hong Kong at three consecutive Olympic Games in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
“The A standard is just like the top 16 level at the Olympic Games and it is not easy for any swimmer.”
While Haughey was successful in her individual event, there was no happy ending for the women’s 4x100 metre freestyle relay team after they missed Olympic qualification.
The top 12 teams in the heats in Kazan can gain direct entry into the Rio Games, but Hong Kong, featuring Haughey, Camille Cheng Lily-mei, Stephanie Au Hoi-shun and Sze Hang-yu, finished 14th overall.
Sze also finished 29th overall in the 100 metre butterfly heats in 59.72 seconds, which missed the A standard which stands at 58.74 seconds.