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Making waves TD Sean Haughey reveals family's 'great excitement' at swimming star Siobhan's Olympic medal

'She’s made huge sacrifices to achieve her dream'

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Siobhan Haughey with her silver medal. Photo: Reuters

Siobhan Haughey with her silver medal. Photo: Reuters

Siobhan Haughey with her silver medal. Photo: Reuters

Dublin TD Sean Haughey has spoken of his family’s delight and pride after Siobhán Bernadette Haughey, the grandniece of his father - former Taoiseach Charles Haughey - won Hong Kong's first Olympic swimming medal. 

The 23-year-old psychology major, already the first swimmer from Hong Kong to reach an Olympic final, picked up silver in the 200m freestyle and looked set for gold before Australia's Ariarne Titmus chased her down.

"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, a phrase meaning to keep drawing strength. "Those swimmers back home - continue to train hard and you will be the next," she said.

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Fianna Fáil TD Seán Haughey Photo: Frank McGrath

Fianna Fáil TD Seán Haughey Photo: Frank McGrath

Fianna Fáil TD Seán Haughey Photo: Frank McGrath

Deputy Haughey said there was “great excitement in the family”, first that she had qualified and was then heading off to Tokyo.

“She’s made huge sacrifices to achieve her dream but my impression of her is that she is always happy, always smiling, a very contented person, win, lose or draw,” he told SundayWorld.com.

“We’re very, very proud of her and it’s given us a great boost. People have noticed, I suppose, the unusual name and we’re all getting many messages this morning, so it seems to have caught the public’s imagination.

“She is the daughter of my first cousin which makes her my first cousin once removed,” Mr Haughey, a Fianna Fail TD for Dublin Bay North said.

“Although I just call her my cousin. But the simple part to understand is that she is the grandniece of Charles Haughey, which is probably more understandable.

"Her sister Aishling lives in Ireland and is a physiotherapist in Beaumont Hospital so as a family they've obviously come to Ireland on a regular basis before Covid. They would attend family functions and get togethers so I know Siobhan quite well.

“Siobhan’s been swimming since she was a small girl and made waves, excuse the pun, at the Rio Olympics five years ago.

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“She didn’t win the medals but she's been training very hard for Tokyo. But I remember whenever she did come to Ireland she trained in the arena swimming pool attached to the Grand Hotel here.

"She did a bit of swimming there, just to keep up her practise even when she was on holidays. She is very dedicated.”

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