The Irish-Hongkonger Siobhan Haughey was already considered the city’s strongest swimmer having smashed and re-smashed several local records before making history today as the first Hong Kong swimmer to win an Olympic medal.
The grandniece of the late former Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey took a silver to secure Hong Kong’s first ever medal in the pool. Haughey was born on October 31, 1997, to Irish father Darach and Hong Kong mother Canjo. She has one older sister, Aisling.
The 23-year-old Haughey, who simultaneously clocked a personal best of 1:53:92 having led the majority of the race before two-time world champion Australian Ariarne Titmus swept in at the final stretch, has only reasserted her status as torch-bearer to guide Hong Kong’s next-generation swimmers.
Ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Haughey revealed 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’s ability to speak fluent English and Cantonese has allowed her seamless transition between North American and Asian swimming markets, particularly earning a soft spot with local fans, many of whom call her “Little Fish”.