Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are coming to an end this week, and Team Hong Kong—consisting of 42 competitors across 14 sports—will be returning home with their heads held high. Putting forth an impressive performance on the global stage, the team has left Hongkongers feeling prouder than ever of its roster of accomplished athletes.
Coming home with a collection of three Olympic medals—one gold and two silver—Team Hong Kong has made Olympic history. Hong Kong has finally cinched its second gold medal and now holds the Asian record for swimming. With buzz around Paris 2024 Olympics already in play, here are eight Hong Kong athletes to keep an eye on.
For her first Olympic Games, the table tennis star put forth an impressive performance that had all of us on edge. With an astounding winning streak in the women’s singles event, she sadly suffered a loss to China’s Chen Meng in the quarter-finals, but to come this close in competition with top players in table tennis—and at the tender age of 24—sends a formidable message that she is an athletic force to be reckoned with. She has left an indelible impression on the opposition and we are looking forward to seeing her in the next World Championships and Olympic Games!
How can we not include Hong Kong’s pride and joy, Edgar Cheung Ka-long? Jousting and sparring his way to the top, the 24-year-old foil fencer bagged gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Witnessing his historic win, the celebratory cheers that filled the homes, offices, and shopping centres of Hong Kong were directed towards the city’s second-ever gold medal—the first was won by windsurfer Lee Lai-shan at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. You could say that his win was foreshadowed, as he led the Hong Kong athletes’ introduction at the opening ceremony this year!
You will have heard all about Siobhán Haughey by now; the Irish-Hong Kong swimmer was hot on the heels of Australia’s Emma McKeon in the women’s 100-metre freestyle, coming in at a strong and close second to cinch a well-deserved silver medal for Hong Kong—just days after her first win! At just 23 years old, Haughey has brought home two silver medals and the pride that comes with breaking two Asian records. Her wins in the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics and 2017 Taipei Universiade (World University Games) have propelled her to impressive podium finishes. Amazing how she’s able to achieve all this whilst attending university in the United States!
Imagine seeing a sport you leisurely take on as a hobby play out very intensely at the Olympics—that’s how we see Tse Ying-suet spiking and diving in her badminton play this summer in Tokyo. Although she is no longer a first-timer to the Olympic Games, the pressure to win remains unshaken. Hong Kong athlete Tse played alongside teammate Jordan Tang Chun-man in this year’s mixed badminton doubles. Competition against Great Britain, Germany, and Malaysia gave them three wins, but they ultimately lost out to Japan for third place. Even despite their recent loss at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Tse’s unwavering focus and dynamic with her partner are incredibly inspiring.
When you see Jordan Tang Chun-man on the court, you can tell that he eats, breathes, and lives badminton. He turned his passion into a full-time job when he joined Hong Kong’s national badminton team at the age of 18. With his badminton partner Tse Ying-suet, Tang shows his mettle as one half of an intimidating pair ever since their first-place win at the 2016 Chinese Taipei Masters competition. With a passionate drive stabilising the powerful twosome, we hope they will choose to make a comeback in the next competition and push for a strong podium finish, although their return is by no means certain—both Tse and Tang have stated that this could be their last Olympics.
Last but certainly not least is Hong Kong’s track queen, Sarah Lee Wai-sze. For those who do not usually pay attention to the Olympics unless there is a Hong Kong athlete to look out for, yes, cycling has been made harder. Keirin is a track sport invented in Japan that elevates the playing field (literally), where cyclists ride brakeless bicycles on a sloped track, following a pacing bike for the first few laps to bring all cyclists up to the same speed, and then battling it out between the contestants as soon as the pacer departs. For most of us watching from home, Lee is probably how we were introduced to the fast and physical sport. At the age of 34, she’s been bringing Hong Kong pride to the international stage for 17 years (!) and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games might possibly be her last one...