As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics countdown continues, Hong Kong’s top athletes are starting to make their moves. Elsewhere, others continue to impress in their individual sports, from running to snooker. There was also progress from some of Hong Kong’s teams in another 12 months packed with achievement. Here’s a list of local sports figures who continued to make waves in a year where sport often took a backseat. Track cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze No one can dispute Lee had an outstanding year. In March, at the world championships in Poland, Hong Kong’s medal hopes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics clinched both the sprint and keirin world titles. Despite her age, the 32-year-old remains a force to be reckoned with in the world of women’s sprinting. Lee, a bronze medallist at the 2012 London Games, is likely to capture another Olympic honour at the 2020 Olympics, especially in the sprint, a discipline in which she remains unbeaten in all races she has taken part since the beginning of the Tokyo Olympic cycle in 2018. Fencer Vivian Kong Man-wai Kong became the first fencer from Hong Kong to claim the world number one spot after bagging two gold medals in the women’s individual épée World Cup series early in the year. In the summer, she created more Hong Kong fencing history when she captured a bronze medal at the world championships in Budapest, the first medal for Hong Kong at the worlds. Although the 25-year-old injured a cruciate ligament in Budapest, she made a quick recovery to get herself fit again for the new season. She will be another medal hopeful at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Swimmer Siobhan Haughey Hong Kong’s best ever swimmer, Haughey reached the final in the women’s 200 metres freestyle at the world championships where she just missed the podium by finishing a mere 0.2 seconds behind multi-Olympic and world championships medallist Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden. Her time of one minute, 54.98 seconds bettered her own Hong Kong record. Prior to the worlds in July, the 22-year-old starlet twice achieved the A qualifying standard for the Tokyo Olympics and steered Hong Kong to two more slots in the two freestyle relays at the worlds. Haughey was a new kid on the block at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but Tokyo 2020 could possibly be her best chance to possibly grab a first swimming medal for Hong Kong. Gymnast Shek Wai-hung Shek captured two men’s vault gold medals in the World Challenge Cup series, first in Osijek, Croatia, in May followed by another in Koper, Slovenia, in July. Although the 28-year-old finished a disappointing seventh at the world championships in Stuttgart, the result was still enough to earn another Olympic Games appearance, eight years after he became the first Hong Kong gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, in London. Since then, Shek has lifted two Asian Games gold medals, in Incheon in 2014 and in Jakarta last year, a marvellous achievement. Snooker star Ng On-yee It was a quiet year for Hong Kong’s billiard sports queen but Ng still managed to lift her third IBSF world title in Turkey in November. She first won the amateur event in 2009 before clinching three professional world titles from 2015. First playing snooker at the age of 13, Ng, now 29, aims to set foot in the male dominated game. While she lost in this year’s World Snooker Championship qualifiers in Sheffield where she was defeated by Alan McManus of Scotland 10-6 in the first round after joining Reanne Evans of England as one of the two female qualifiers, her hard work and courage to challenge the seemingly impossible is still much appreciated. Fencing men’s foil team The Hong Kong team captured a silver medal at the World Cup series in St Petersburg in April. Not only was it the first team medal for Hong Kong at the top-level competition, it also began their 2020 Tokyo qualifying campaign with a bang. Featuring Cheung Ka-long, Ryan Choi Chun-yin, Cheung Siu-lun and Yeung Chi-ka, the quartet is now well on course to become the first fencing team to represent Hong Kong at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year., They have to keep up their hard work in the World Cup series in Cairo in February, one of two remaining qualifying events. Wushu exponent Nana Tsang Hoi-lan Veteran Tsang became the first sanda athlete from Hong Kong to capture a medal at a wushu world championships when she came second in the women’s 60kg category in Shanghai in October. Hong Kong has excelled in taolu (routine performance) for many years, winning several world titles since the 1990s, but it was the first time the combat exponent stood on the medal podium for Hong Kong. She took up the sport to lose weight, and has branched out into a variety of combat disciplines and also runs her own school to help mainly women build self confidence. The 38-year-old still has fire in her belly, with the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou her next big target. Triathlete Oscar Coggins Barely a year into his senior career, Coggins was crowned Asian champion at the ASTC Asian Championships in Gyeongju, South Korea, in June. The 20-year-old, who was born in Hong Kong but raised in England, won the race, conisting of a 1.5km swim, 40km swim and 10km run, in one hour, 50 minutes and 34 seconds, beating Japan’s Takumi Hojo, Asia’s number one, by 22 seconds and becoming Hong Kong’s first Asian triathlon champion. After missing the 2018 Asian Games because of a passport issue, Coggins, now a Hong Kong citizen, is determined to make it to the 2020 Olympic Games. With a third place in the continental rankings, he is certainly on the right track. Marathon runner Christy Yiu Kit-ching In her first race since the 2016 Rio Olympics, Yiu shattered one of the oldest Hong Kong records, finishing sixth in the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia in July, just one place short of the required entry standard for next year’s Olympic Games. But the 31-year-old’s impressive time of two hours, 34 minutes and seven seconds broke Maggie Chan Man-yee’s mark set in 2004 by almost two minutes. After giving birth to her first child in April 2018, Yiu, who has a nursing degree, decided to return to the track. Her result in Gold Coast represents a significant step towards her goal of making a second appearance in an Olympic marathon. Hong Kong men’s football team A decade after Hong Kong’s men’s football team made it to the EAFF Championship final, they did it again in early 2019, squeezing out regional powers North Korea by scoring more goals after both teams finished level on points in the four-team qualifiers. Although Hong Kong manager Gary White left after steering them to this result, replacement Mixu Paatelainen showed he is capable of modifying the team into a better and stronger squad, provided the Finn can have more time in the hotseat. His one-year contract ends in a couple of months. Hong Kong football needs some long-term development, particularly among youth players, as the Football Association sets its sights on reaching the 2034 World Cup finals.