Meet The Gen.T Honourees Competing In The Tokyo Olympics
After a year-long delay due to the pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is set to take place from July 23.
After a perilous and uncertain year, organisers hope the Games will be a “light at the end of the tunnel”, despite the recent announcement that the venues won’t have spectators for events.
In total, 21 Gen.T honourees qualified for the Olympics, in sports as diverse as fencing, swimming and tennis. See all 21 honourees in the table at the end of the story, and read on to learn more about 10 of them here.
1/10 Yuka Saso
Previous sporting achievements? Saso made headlines on June 6 this year when she won the 76th US Women's Open, making her the first Filipino player to win a major golf tournament. She also won two more professional tournaments in 2020, and won gold in both women's individual and women's team events at the 2018 Asian Games, a first for the Philippines at the time.
Did you know? Born in the Philippines, Saso is Japanese-Filipino and spent her early years in Japan.
2/10 Farah Ann Abdul Hadi
Previous sporting achievements? Abdul Hadi, 27, has been a gymnast for more than 20 years. She has won seven gold, two silver and three bronze medals at the Southeast Asian Games, both as an individual and in team events. She also won a silver medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in 2016. Having narrowly missed the Rio games due to a foot injury, Tokyo will be her first time participating in the Olympics.
Did you know? Abdul Hadi had a Barbie doll made in her likeness, part of a campaign launched by toymaker Mattel, cementing her status as a positive role model for young girls in Malaysia.
3/10 Hidilyn Diaz
Previous sporting achievements? Diaz has won multiple medals in Asian and Southeast Asian Games as well as Asian and World Championships. In 2016, she made history in Rio by winning the first Olympic medal for the Philippines in 20 years, taking home silver. It was also the first Olympic medal won by a Filipino woman. Tokyo will be her fourth Olympics, after Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Did you know? Diaz is also an airwoman in the Philippines Air Force, and was promoted in ranks in recognition of her 2016 Olympic achievements.
4/10 Stephanie Au
Region Hong Kong
Previous sporting achievements? Au holds multiple Hong Kong records, including the 400m, 800m and 1,500m freestyle, the 4×100m medley relay, and the 4×100m freestyle relay.
Did you know? Au represented Hong Kong at the last three Olympics and was the Hong Kong flag bearer at the Rio 2016 opening ceremony, a rare honour awarded to outstanding athletes, often fan-favorites, in recognition of their achievements. Nicknamed Oriental Venus by Chinese media, she was considering retiring from Olympic competition after the Rio games, but has thankfully changed her mind since.
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5/10 Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo
Sport Badminton doubles (with Marcus Fernaldi Gideon)
Previous sporting achievements? Sukamuljo and Gideon are currently ranked first in men’s doubles by the Badminton World Federation. The pair are among the favourites to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, which will be their first participation at the Games. Sukamuljo has also won eight Super Series titles and a gold medal at the Asian Games.
Did you know? A celebrity in his native Indonesia, Sukamuljo has 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
6/10 Vivian Kong
Region Hong Kong
Previous sporting achievements? Hong Kong’s leading female fencer, Kong competes in the épée category, the largest of the three weapons used in fencing. She won an individual World Cup title in 2019, a first for Hong Kong. Tokyo will be her second Olympic Games, after Rio 2016.
Did you know? Kong uses yoga and Buddhism to overcome injuries or stress. She sees yoga as a form of “moving meditation” that brings balance to her life, while Buddhism teaches her how to accept suffering as a normal part of our existence.
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7/10 Hua Tian
Previous sporting achievements? Hua is specialised in eventing, where a single horse and rider compete in three disciplines: dressage, cross-country and show jumping. His first Olympic participation was at the Beijing 2008 games, where he was the first Chinese rider to ever compete in eventing. In Tokyo he will take part in the individual competition and also lead an eventing team, another first for China. He finished eighth in Rio 2016, and won bronze in 2018 and silver in 2014 at the Asian Games.
Did you know? Hua was born in London and is half-Chinese and half-British.
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8/10 Chun-Han Yang
Previous sporting achievements? Having qualified for the 100 metres, Yang, 24, will make his Olympics debut at the Tokyo Games. He previously won a gold in the 200 metres and a bronze in the 100 metres in the 2017 Asian Championships. He is also Taiwan’s record holder in the 100 and 200 metre distances.
Did you know? Yang, who is nicknamed “Taiwan’s fastest man”, will be the first sprinter from the island to participate in the 100 metres in 25 years.
9/10 Pandelela Rinong
Previous sporting achievements? Rinong won her first gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and her most recent at the 2021 FINA Diving World Cup in Japan in May. She also made history by winning bronze in the 10 metre platform at the London 2012 Games, becoming the first Malaysian female to win an Olympic medal. She achieved greater heights at Rio 2016, getting the silver in the synchronised 10 metre platform competition with her partner Cheong Jun Hoong.
Did you know? Rinong can speak four languages: her mother tongue Bidayuh, Malay, Mandarin and English. She also has a swimming centre in Sarawak, her native state in Malaysia, named after her.
10/10 Latisha Chan
Previous sporting achievements? Chan has won a number of titles in doubles competitions, her most successful discipline. Her biggest year to date was 2017, when she teamed up with Martina Hingis, a former world champion in singles and doubles, and won the US Open women's doubles. She also finished that year as world number-one in women’s doubles. She has now teamed up with her sister Angel Chan, also a Gen.T Honouree, with whom she will compete in this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Did you know? Chan started playing tennis at age 6, when she was coached by her father. She is a survivor of the Jiji earthquake in Taiwan, which destroyed her hometown in 1999. She released her first book, You’re All You Need, in November last year.
See more Gen.T honourees from the Sports category of the Gen.T List 2020