It has been hard for sport to get a word in edgeways in 2020. The ubiquitous Covid-19 has seeped into every industry and topic of conversation, and will be a turning point in history. But amid the quarantines, lockdowns and cancellations, athletes from this side of the world have managed to etch their names somewhere in the history books, blazing their own trails or breaking long-standing boundaries. They have done so in an extremely difficult time where nearly all sport had to sit out at one point or another. So credit must be given where credit is buried in the mind-numbingly sad news cycle. The following is a list of Asian athletes that the Post has covered in the past year. They have been selected for their record-breaking performances or unprecedented achievements either onor off the track, on the field, in the pool, whatever the craft. Separate shout-out to new Florida Marlins general manager Kim Ng , a Chinese-American who became the first woman to hold the role in Major League Baseball. While she is not an athlete, her monumental appointment should also be recognised. Jackson He Peizhang, China, American football Guangdong native He [pronounced “huh”] made history after becoming the first Chinese-born player to score a touchdown in the Football Bowl Subdivision with the Arizona State University Sun Devils in December. The walk-on, who was only introduced to the sport at the age of 17 after travelling to the US for studies, proudly pointed to the Chinese characters printed on the back of his jersey after scoring. He also wore a T-shirt with the tagline “Asians can ball, too” during his video interview. Sarah Lee Wai-sze, Hong Kong, cycling Track cycling star Lee is going for a successful swansong after once again qualifying for the Olympics. At 33, she remains one of the city’s best medal hopes after winning a bronze in the velodrome at London 2012 . Her trademark performances in the sprint and keirin even earned an additional spot for teammate Jessica Lee Hoi-yan, who is preparing for her first Olympics. Naomi Osaka, Japan, tennis You may have seen a collage of Osaka’s pre-match masks at the US Open. The 23-year-old world number three wore the names of different African-American victims of police shootings or racial violence in the US up to the final – which she won. Osaka said she was fuelled by the critics telling her to “keep politics out of sports” and would carry on using her platform to raise awareness on social justice. Son Heung-min, South Korea, football Tottenham Hotspur and South Korean national team darling Son was named in the English Premier League team of 2020 and won the Puskas Award (goal of the year) at The Best Fifa Awards this month after a wonderful season. In the process, the 28-year-old forward became the first Asian player to reach 50 and 100 goals in the English top flight, and even completed his mandatory military service in May. Ben Li, Canada, basketball Chinese-Canadian Li has been labelled the “Chinese Zion Williamson” for his mountainous stature and explosive dunking abilities. The 19-year-old NCAA Division I college player last year became the first fully ethnic Chinese player to feature in an All-Canadian game before heading to the US. The Lehigh University student is friends with Taiwanese-American star Jeremy Lin and has become of the few to raise awareness over racism towards Asian players on the court . Shaun Thong Wei Fung, Hong Kong, motor racing Learning that he would be stuck in Japan indefinitely as borders tightened, the 24-year-old Thong opted to join a fully Japanese team assembled just in time for the 2020 Pirelli Super Taikyu Series. His Team Hirix defied the odds, from steering their burning car into first place to their most experienced driver being taken to hospital , before miraculously steering into championship trophy contention with just one race to go. Kai Sotto, the Philippines, basketball The future of Filipino basketball, Sotto is looking like the real deal. The 2.18m centre earned a spot in the NBA G-League’s hand-picked Elite team as he takes another step towards being the first fully Filipino to make it to the NBA. The 18-year-old, who announced in late December that he would join up with the Gilas national team for February’s Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers, laid out ambitions to follow in the footsteps of Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin . Ng On-yee, Hong Kong, snooker Three-time world champion and former world number one Ng is getting back to her usual self after shrugging off the Covid-19-impacted inactivity . However, fans will still remember her 15-month-drought-ending win at the Belgian Women’s Open in February, and will be even more excited that she has returned home to boost the local men’s and women’s Open scenes. Brandon Wu, USA, golf Chinese-American Wu went from missing Korn Ferry Tour qualification (the PGA Tour’s developmental set-up) to earning a spot at the US Open. The 23-year-old Stanford graduate even contracted Covid-19 in between . His clutch performances caught the eye of long-time friend and reigning PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa. Li Boqiao, China, American football China’s first and only NFL International Player Pathway inductee, Li narrowly missed out on entering the biggest league of them all, but holds his head high and in position to carry 1.4 billion people over his shoulder . The Beijing-born 24-year-old outside linebacker will continue his NFL pursuit, be there a stint in the Canadian or German football leagues. Saki Kumagai, Japan, football World Cup winner Saki Kumagai was ranked 11th in the 100 best women’s players – the highest ever for an Asian footballer – and deservedly so. The national team captain helped steer her club Lyon to their fifth consecutive Uefa Champions League trophy, scoring a goal in the final. The 2019 Asian Football Confederation’s player of the year continued her form after scoring in the first game of the new season. Emilio Estevez Tsai, Canada, football Toronto-born playmaker Estevez Tsai is half-Taiwanese and was immediately snapped up by national team coaches as a young Canadian Premier League prospect. The 24-year-old’s sizzling performances for club and country earned him a move to ADO Den Haag in Holland’s top league . “Taiwan’s Eden Hazard” became both the first CPL player to transfer to the European top flight and the first of Taiwanese descent reported to play in the Eredivisie. Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong, swimming Haughey has been on fire since joining International Swimming League team Energy Standard. In November, she set a new ISL and Asian short course record and has emerged as a rare Olympic medal hope for Hong Kong. The 23-year-old has spent much of December in lockdown in the Hong Kong Sports Institute as training for the delayed Tokyo Games starts to take priority. Ng Yee-sun, Hong Kong, football To think that a Hong Kong player would be signed by Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon – that is, the team which boasted the likes of Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes – is mind-boggling. But the 18-year-old goalkeeper has proven it possible. Though he still requires polishing in the youth side, “Sun” will always be known as Sporting’s first Hong Kong player – and one of the very few to have made it to that level. Taylor Rapp, USA, American football Chinese-American NFL star Rapp has already dispelled several stigmas but is only getting warmed up. The Los Angeles Rams safety, who recalled several instances of being overlooked because of his ethnicity in his rise to the country’s top division, is big on setting examples and hoping to show new generations that “Asians belong in the NFL” . Constance Lien, Singapore, Brazilian jiu-jitsu Singaporean Lien is the poster girl for Asian athletes. The former national swimmer turned jiu-jitsu champion made history after becoming world champion at the IBJJF Championships in 2019 and has proceeded to speak up about mental health and eating disorders, topics very close to her heart . She helped ignite a discussion on the importance of Asian women athletes’ well-being and started an initiative with the Singaporean government. Bala Devi, India, football From kicking among the boys in native Manipur to becoming the first-ever Indian women’s footballer to sign a professional contract overseas, Devi deserves only respect. The veteran left her club – and position as a Manipur police officer – to join Scottish Women’s Premier League team Rangers . Back home, she has scored an outrageous 52 goals in 58 games for the Indian national team. Alexander Yang, USA, golf Unknown golfer Yang travelled to his birthplace of Hong Kong after an invitation to the Open as an amateur. The Stanford-bound teen finished the weekend mobbed by fans after finishing as the tournament’s best-place amateur (the youngest in history to do so), becoming the city’s most exciting prospect overnight and vowing to represent Hong Kong again in future. Wu Lei, China, football Chinese football star Wu became the first player to score against Spanish powerhouse Barcelona in any competition. Local and social media exploded after seeing the 29-year-old Espanyol player secure such a milestone so soon after becoming the only Chinese player to play in Europe’s top five leagues. Wu also recovered from Covid-19 and took a pay cut from his club after being relegated . Zhang Weili, China, mixed martial arts Incumbent UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili skyrocketed to fame after becoming her country’s first promotional champion and putting on a Fight of the Year title defence in March. The Handan, Hebei province-born fighter has also spoken up about gender bias as a women’s martial artist back home.