Siobhan Haughey

Now the hard work really starts for Hong Kong swimming star Siobhan Haughey after World University Games double

After reaching a world championship final and winning two gold medals at the World University Games, she turns her attention to achieving success at the next Olympics

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 August, 2017, 11:38pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 11:58am

Hong Kong starlet Siobhan Haughey made a triumphant ­return to Hong Kong late on Sunday night after winning two swimming gold medals at the World University Games in Taiwan, but she faces a lot of hard work to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Haughey has had a sensational summer, finishing fifth in the 200 metres freestyle at the world championships in Budapest, Hungary, followed by her golds in the 100m and 200m freestyle finals at the student games in ­Taipei.

The 19-year-old will spend a week with her family in Hong Kong before returning to the United States, where she will ­continue her studies and training at the University of Michigan.

Despite her success, she still does not consider herself to be a true world-class swimmer, but is confident she can reach that ­target over the next three years.

“There is still a gap between me and the true world-class swimmers,” she said. “The Tokyo Games is my long-term goal at this stage and I have already set a ­target, especially in the 200 metres freestyle.

“There is still plenty of room for improvement to make myself a world-class swimmer. I will take part in more international events, work on some details of my skills such as start and turn – a lot of areas still need to be improved.

“I have already set a target for the Tokyo but I would rather keep it to myself. I don’t want to disclose it at this stage.

“I will work hard in the next three years and then you will know.

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

Haughey came fifth in the women’s 200 metres freestyle world championships in Budapest prior to the University Games, becoming the first swimmer from Hong Kong to reach a worlds final.

“I didn’t have any break this summer because I took part in two major competitions and I am very happy to have one week off before returning to the United States to continue my studies and training,” she said.

“It was the first break after the Rio Olympics when I also had one week off. I want to enjoy a real break in Hong Kong.”

Haughey’s next major event is the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, followed by the 2019 World Championships before her ultimate target – the Tokyo Olympic Games. In between, there will be the regular NCAA swimming competitions for her university.

Well rested and determined, Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey aims for second gold medal at World University Games

“I will take it step by step until I reach my target in Tokyo. It’s a very challenging target but I am sure it’s attainable,” she said.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong will have the chance to break their medal count record at student games with field athletes Chan Ming-tai and Cecilia Yeung Man-wai taking part in finals on Monday.

Yeung easily made it through to the last 12 after clearing 1.75 metres in the women’s high jump qualification on Saturday, but Chan had to ­battle on Sunday to reach the men’s long jump final.

The University of Hong Kong student had a first jump of 7.64 metres in qualifying. It was enough to place him eighth overall, but only just ahead of the last two qualifiers.

“The final will be another event, and qualifying marks mean nothing now,” said Chan, who won a silver medal with 8.03 ­metres at the Asian Athletics Championships in India.

“My coach has arrived in Taipei, along with my girlfriend, and their presence will give me a strong boost, psychologically and technically. I’ll see what I can achieve in the final.”

Hong Kong sealed their third medal of the Games after the tennis men’s doubles pair lost in the semi-finals to their Russian opponents 6-4, 7-5. With no play-off for third place, Yeung Pak-long and Wong Chun-hun were assured of a bronze.