Siobhan Haughey out of Asian Games with mystery foot injury in huge blow to Hong Kong swimming hopes
The 20-year-old University of Michigan student has ‘complex and complicated issue’ causing her severe pain, with eight specialist doctors in US unable to diagnose the problem
Injured medal hopeful Siobhan Haughey has pulled out of the Asian Games, dealing a huge blow to the Hong Kong swimming team’s hopes in Indonesia this summer.
The 20-year-old University of Michigan student is still receiving treatment for a foot injury in the United States, according to her coach at the South China Athletic Association, and will not be available for the regional multi-sport games, which get under way on August 18.
“Haughey has had severe foot pain since mid-December and this has already greatly affected her preparation and training for the NCAA finals in March,” coach Michael Fasching said.
“In the past six months she has consulted eight different specialist doctors in the States. No one was able to diagnose the root of the problem.”
Fasching said that, in an attempt to get alternative medical advice, Haughey returned to Hong Kong last month to consult a famous acupuncturist recommended by the Sports Institute head coach as well as a chiropractor recommended by her parents.
“It is now believed the cartilage around her ankle is severely inflamed and it is a quite complex and complicated issue,” Fasching said.
“All of this has greatly affected her training and preparation for the Jakarta Games and in consultation with her coaches at the University of Michigan, a painful decision has been made for her to withdraw from the squad.”
Haughey was a member of the Asian Games squad four years ago aged just 16, when she was part of the relay team that won three bronze medals in Incheon.
And after her brilliant performance at the 2017 World Championships when she became the first swimmer from Hong Kong to reach the final in the women’s 200-metre freestyle, and finished with a creditable fifth place, she had already set her sights on the regional sporting extravaganza.
She also won two gold medals at the World University Games in Taiwan last summer.
Fasching said Haughey would come back stronger despite her absence from Indonesia.
“When I met her on her last visit in Hong Kong, she was in good spirits and determined to get to the bottom of her ongoing medical problem and to fully focus on rehabilitation and recovery, so as to continue with her training which will be focused on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo,” the coach said.
Hong Kong will now send 32 swimmers to the Games and there will be no replacement for Haughey, according to team manager David Chiu Chin-hung.
“Haughey has the quality to challenge in the individual events and is also a key member of the relay team,” Chiu said.
“But her decision has been made and now we can only hope other swimmers can push themselves harder in the wake of Haughey’s absence.”
Head swimming coach Chen Jianhong praised Haughey for the hard work she has already put in for Hong Kong.
“She is a swimmer with great responsibility and would only make such a decision because there is no other way out,” he said. “She has already promised she will watch her teammates in front of the television to give them support.”
Jianhong said the relay team will now be built around veterans Stephanie Au Hoi-shun, Camille Cheng Lily-mei and Sze Hang-yu, while upcoming swimmers such as Ho Nam-wai and Tam Hoi-lam will be given chances if they can prove their form.