Expectations were high for the Hong Kong athlete ahead of the 100 metre freestyle final, after her Asian-record-breaking swims in the heats and semi-finals, as well as her silver-medal-winning performance in the 200 metre freestyle event.
A man surnamed Yip was among around 100 spectators gathered at a Tai Kok Tsui mall and was holding up a poster that read “support the athletes”.
“She has already done it very well in the 200 metres, so it is expected that she will do well in the 100 metres as well,” he said before the race began.
And the swimmer did not disappoint, prompting some among a crowd of delighted people at another mall, in Kwun Tong, to burst into tears.
A man who gave his name as Eugene said he had gone to the APM mall just to watch the race, adding that he always knew Hong Kong athletes were capable of greatness.
“I’m proud of this result. It’s something that can bring joy to the city and it’s something that we need in this moment after Covid and everything… I’m not surprised. I use the sports facilities in Hong Kong. I know that the sports movement is very good. What was probably lacking was confidence. And I hope this result can add confidence,” he said.
A man surnamed Chak, who said he was a boxer, told RTHK that Hong Kong’s results at the Olympics have greatly encouraged athletes in the city.
“This offers great encouragement to the sports field here. Hong Kong athletes have brought home more medals than before this year. I feel that Hong Kong people have much potential and willpower,” he said.
A secondary school pupil who went to the mall to watch the race with her family and friends said the great results of the Hong Kong athletes have made her more interested in sport.
“I didn’t know [Haughey] very well before this Olympics… I am not very aware of sports news before, but this time Hong Kong athletes have done a really great job so I pay more attention,” she said.
Another student called Joey said she also loved the fact that she could celebrate Haughey’s victory with a crowd of people.
“I think the atmosphere here is really good so I want to celebrate the moment with all the Hongkongers. It’s really amazing because she made new history of Hong Kong,” she said.