Hangzhou, Sep 27 (IANS) Siobhan Bernadette Haughey of Hong Kong, China, nicknamed “The Little Mermaid”, showcased her prowess in the pool at the Hangzhou Asiad, clinching two gold medals with impressive performances.
Haughey, 25, who was the runner-up in both the 100m and 200m free at the Tokyo Games, delivered an exceptional swim on Monday. She won the 200m freestyle in one minute 54.12 seconds. This victory marked Hong Kong, China’s first swimming gold medal at the Asian Games and was also her first Asian Games gold, especially significant after she missed the 2018 edition due to an injury, reports Xinhua.
On the following day, “The Litter Mermaid” set a new Asian record in the 100m freestyle, clocking a time of 52.17. This time is only surpassed by Australia’s Olympic and world champion, Mollie O’Callaghan, and ranks as the third-best of the year.
“I’m really happy that I can do a best time here. I haven’t swum a best time since Tokyo (Olympic Games), but I knew I had the ability of going faster. I’m really glad that I could do it here at the Asian Games, and break the Asian record. It just proves that I’m not at my peak yet and hopefully I can keep going and keep swimming faster,” she said.
Haughey began her swimming journey at age five, influenced by her older sister Aisling Haughey, who has represented Hong Kong, China in World Cup events. “When I was younger, I really hated swimming. Different coaches told my parents I had talent and I shouldn’t give up swimming. The more I swam, the more I realized I actually liked swimming,” Haughey recalled.
She quickly made a name for herself in the pool. She became the first swimmer representing Hong Kong, China to reach the final of an individual event at the world championships, finishing fifth in the 200m freestyle at the 2017 Budapest worlds.
Haughey continued to make history at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. She secured silver in both the 200m and 100m freestyle, becoming the first athlete from Hong Kong, China in any sport to win more than one medal at a single Olympic Games edition.
In Hangzhou, Haughey expressed her elation at making history again by winning Hong Kong, China’s first-ever swimming gold at the Asiad. “It’s very special,” she said. “I guess I was hoping for a little faster time, but it’s not too far off my best time, so I’m still happy with it.”
While she hasn’t outlined long-term goals, Haughey is already focused on the Paris Games, which are just 10 months away. “Me and my coach, we’re really prepared for Paris, and if I just keep doing what I’m doing right now, I’ll be ready,” she shared.
Regarding the possibility of breaking a world record, she remarked, “I try not to give myself too much pressure, I’m just going to keep doing what I do, train hard and see where that takes me. I don’t want to limit myself in any way, I don’t have a specific time goal. As long as I do my best, the results will come.”
“The Little Mermaid” also earned a bronze in the 50m breast and played a pivotal role in her team’s bronze win in the women’s 4x100m free relay. “I don’t swim breaststroke that often, but I figured I’d start off the meet with a fun event. It was really fun, I had a best time and that put me in a good mood, and hopefully I can carry that momentum for the rest of the week.”
Haughey is registered for seven events at the Asiad, and fans are eagerly awaiting her performances in the 50m free and the three relays.