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Hong Konger Siobhan Bernadette Haughey became the first person from Hong Kong to win a medal in Olympic swimming when she earned silver for the Women’s 200m Freestyle event.
Haughey, the grandniece of former Irish Taoiseach Charles Haughey, broke the Asian 200m Freestyle record with a time of 1:53.92.
Haughey’s mother is from Hong Kong and her father is Irish and the swimmer was born in and has grown up in the former British colony.
The swimmer’s previous best time was 1:54.89, which she had set in April of this year.
The 23-year-old was already the first swimmer from Hong Kong to reach an Olympic final and solidified her mane in Olympics history with her performance.
The two-time Olympian dominated proceedings for much of the race, leading the way up until the final 50m when Australian Ariarne Titmus edged her out to take gold in the event.
🇦🇺 Ariarne Titmus won gold in the women’s 200-meter freestyle, setting a new Olympic record.
— NYT Graphics (@nytgraphics) July 28, 2021
The silver medal makes the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Hong Kong’s most successful Olympics ever.
Fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-Long had previously won gold for the Olympic team on Tuesday – Hong Kong’s first gold since Atlanta 1996.
“My achievement, coupled with Cheung Ka-Long in fencing, can inspire other Hong Kong athletes who are here in Tokyo, and ‘add oil’ to them,” she said after her race.
The phrase is a motivational one that means to keep drawing strength.
She has shown massive improvement since her Olympic debut in Rio where she made the semis of the event and swam a time of 1:57.56.
Haughey had stated before she made her Olympic debut in 2016 that she had been approached to represent Ireland but “chose to represent Hong Kong because I was born there, raised there, and feel connected and proud to represent Hong Kong”.
Haughey raced in the Women’s 100m Freestyle Heats later on in the same day, coming second overall across all heats, behind only new Olympic record holder Emma McKeon by half a second.