Siobhan Haughey

Golden girl Siobhan Haughey wins again in record time to match Hong Kong’s best World University Games return

Teenager proves too strong in the women’s 200 metres freestyle final in Taiwan as she equals Hannah Wilson’s double gold medal haul in 2009

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 August, 2017, 7:47pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 August, 2017, 9:08am

Golden girl Siobhan Haughey matched Hong Kong’s best medal record at the World University Games by winning her second gold in the swimming pool on Friday night.

At the National Taiwan Sport University arena in Taipei, Haughey, who had pocketed the 100 metre freestyle gold on Tuesday, made no mistake with gold in the 200 metres freestyle, clocking one minute and 56.71 seconds in the final for a new Games record. The previous mark of 1:57.31 was set by Andreeva Viktoriiya of Russia in Kazan four years ago.

Katherine Drabot of the United States finished second with a time of 1:57.61, while Arina Openysheva, who won a gold in the 4x200 metres freestyle relay for the Russian team, was third in 1:58.53.

The 19-year-old University of Michigan student was once advised by her coach to skip the Games because it’s been a long season with both the world championships and the University Games within a few weeks of each other.

“I have never thought of reaching the Worlds final and winning gold medals at the World University Games. Now I have achieved both,” said Haughey.

“All the hard work has paid off,” she said. “The result is very important as it recognises my effort of making it to the Games and it will also play a crucial role for my future career.”

Siobhan Haughey strikes gold for Hong Kong in World University Games 100 metres freestyle

“There is still room for improvement and I will discuss this with my coach but it’s a small goal being achieved with the long-term goal being the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. My last international championships gold was in 2013 when I won the junior world championship. It has been quite a while. That’s also why the result carries special meaning.”

Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, a former Olympian, who made a special trip to Taiwan to watch the swimmer, praised Haughey for making Hong Kong proud.

“She remained very calm and was mentally very strong during the race even when she was overtaken by her Canadian rival midway through the race. She was still able to keep her pace and not panic,” said Amateur Swimming Association president Wong.

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey moves ominously closer to second gold at World University Games

“She improved two full seconds from her heats to the final which shows just how well she managed to control her event from beginning to end. And although the result is not as good as the time she achieved at the Worlds in Budapest, she is young and has plenty of room for future development.”

The 19-year-old Haughey, who also reached the final in the same event at last month’s world championships in Budapest where she clinched fifth place overall, had already swum the fastest time in the semi-finals. And her second victory in Taiwan came as little surprise as the University of Michigan student equalled the Hong Kong medal record set by fellow swimmer, Hannah Wilson, in 2009.

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey finishes fifth in historic world championships final in national record time again

The two gold medals will also bring Haughey a hefty cash reward of HK$1 million under the Jockey Club Athlete Incentive Awards Scheme. But since Haughey is still competing in NCAA competition, she would not be allowed to receive the funds until she has graduated.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s other swimmer at the Games, Kenneth To King-him, finished in joint 11th place in the men’s 50-metre freestyle semi-finals with four swimmers tied at 22.46, missing a spot in the final.