Tokyo Olympics: Swimmer Siobhan Haughey wins silver medal; teammates forfeit event to give her time to rest

  • The swimmer took second place in the women’s 200m freestyle; she is the second athlete from Hong Kong to take home a prize from this year's Games
  • Fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long won the gold in individual foil earlier in the week
Phila Siu |

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An underwater view shows Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey competing in a semi-final of the women's 200m freestyle swimming event. Photo: AFP

Hong Kong’s top swimmer Siobhan Haughey clinched a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, carving out her place in history as one of the world’s finest in the sport.

The 23-year-old lived up to public expectation after local fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long took gold in individual foil, raising hopes of a second medal from the Hong Kong Olympic delegation. It was only the second gold medal in the city's history – windsurfer  Lee Lai-shan took home the first at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

What you need to know about Edgar Cheung

The swimmer clocked 1:53.92 in women’s 200m freestyle, breaking the Asian record, while Australia’s Ariarne Titmus took gold, clocking 1:53.50 and breaking the Olympic record. Canada’s Penny Oleksiak won Bronze with 1:54.70.

“I knew that I had to swim as fast as I could at the start because the other swimmers were good at 200m and 400m, like Australia’s [Ariane] and the US’s [Kathleen Ledecky]. They would definitely swim faster than I could at the last 50m or 100m,” Haughey said after the historic win this morning.

“I’m so happy!”

The youngest participants in this year's Games

Haughey thanked her parents, saying that she wouldn’t have made it so far without them.

“I hope the athletes who’re still in the race in Tokyo will keep it up. It will be your turn next,” she added.

On Wednesday evening, Haughey placed second in the 100m freestyle semi-finals, where she clocked 52.70, again breaking the Asian record. Australia’s Emma McKeon entered the semifinals with the best time, finishing in 52.13 and smashing the Olympic record.

Siobhan Haughey's journey to the Olympics

Haughey and three other Hong Kong swimmers were scheduled to compete in a women’s 4 X 200m freestyle relay on Wednesday evening, but hours before the event, Hong Kong Sports Institute swimming head coach Chen Jianhong confirmed the team had decided to pull out so that Haughey would have more time to rest and prepare for the 100m freestyle semi-final and final, which are scheduled for Thursday and Friday respectively.

Without Haughey there would be only three swimmers – Stephanie Au Hoi-shun, Camille Cheng Lily-mei and Tinky Ho Nam-wai – qualified to take part in the 4x200m race.

Chen said the girls showed great team spirit when they sacrificed taking part in the relay event.