Leading women sports stars are becoming a global phenomenon and an inspiration for their fans. They are breaking grounds not only with their athletic feats, but also in activism and women’s empowerment. Read on to learn more about the top women athletes in APAC.
The sports industry has now become an essential part of society. It reflects the culture of a region, facilitates the economy, encourages athletic excellence, and provides entertainment for people. The industry is also dynamic, not only in a physical sense, but also in terms of market operation and transitions.
One positive change being made in the realm of sports is the increasing involvement of women. Unlike decades ago, sports is no longer a domain just for men. With the expansion of sporting industries and feminist movements around the world, more women sports stars are gaining international reputation and spotlights. The same trending phenomenon is also happening across the Asia Pacific. Read on to find out about APAC’s leading women athletes.
Man Wai Vivian Kong
Being the 2018 Asian champion in individual épée and two-time Olympian (2016 and 2021), Man Wai Vivian Kong is one of the most reputable women athletes in Asia. Despite having to go through a major surgery after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) following her achievement of winning the FIE Women’s Épée World Cup in 2019, the 27 year-old fencer brought joy to Hong Kong through a quick recovery and by participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Vivian Kong from scmp.com
Stephanie Au Hoi-shun
Hong Kong’s Stephanie Au Hoi-shun deserves the title of legendary as she has participated in four different Olympic competitions so far – the 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The woman sports star currently holds 13 of Hong Kong’s national records in swimming, establishing her prestige through tremendous achievements.
Stephanie Au from scmp.com
Amita Berthier is a Singaporean fencer based in the United States, currently attending the University of Notre Dame. She has won three gold medals from two consecutive Southeast Asian Games and a bronze from the Jakarta Palembang 2018 Asian Games. Having been involved in various international competitions already at the age of 20, including the 2020 Summer Olympics where she became the first Singaporean to win a spot through qualifying tournament, Berthier holds national attention and pride in the country.
Amita Berthier from straitstimes.com
Currently ranked No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association, Australian Ashleigh Barty not only gives hope to sports fans, but also to women tennis prospects globally. Some of her notable achievements include winning the 2019 French Open and the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, which allowed her to hold two Grand Slam titles in singles. With the experience of playing both cricket and tennis at a professional level, Barty has proved her exceptional athletic ability to the international audience.
Honoured with the Order of Australia, Sally Pearson represented her home country in the global arena of athletics until retirement in 2019. She has won two world championships and an Olympic gold medal in 100m hurdles during her career in competitive sports. Pearson’s achievement of winning the Female World Athlete of the Year in 2011 demonstrates her remarkable stature among global sports fans.
Being a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, Naomi Osaka is a worldwide sports star with a huge, stable fandom. The Japanese tennis star has a great influence in the international sports industry, ranked first among the highest-paid women athletes, making around US$55.2 million a year. During the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Osaka became the first-ever tennis player to light the Olympic Cauldron, putting her name in the history of international sports.
Kaori Icho is a legend in freestyle wrestling with ten World Championship titles and four Olympic gold medals – from 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. Through these achievements, the Japanese sports star became the first woman athlete in any sport to win gold in an individual event at four consecutive Olympic competitions.
Being an Olympic gold medalist and a four-time world champion, Kuo Hsing-chun has put Taiwan at the centre of international weightlifting with her 11 senior world records. The weightlifter has recently won a gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, breaking three Olympic records in the women’s 59kg weightlifting event. Kuo’s success story, along with her early childhood, exclusively becomes a source of inspiration for Taiwanese sports fans, as she was nearly strangled by the umbilical cord at birth.
Kuo Hsing-chun from scmp.com
The current No. 1 Taekwondo practitioner, Panipak Wongpattanakit, is arguably the most influential woman athlete in the history of Thai sports. Living up to national expectation, Panipak won her first Olympic gold medal last summer in Tokyo, the only gold for Thailand in the entire competition.
Panipak Wongpattanakit from insidethegames.biz
Quách Thị Lan
Quách Thị Lan is a Vietnamese sprinter and hurdler, specialising in 200m and 400m running, and 400m hurdles. She holds a gold medal from the 2018 Asian Games in hurdles and a silver from the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in 400m sprint. In the latest Olympic competition, Quách bore the Vietnamese flag during the opening ceremony with Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, displaying her reputation in the country.
Quách Thị Lan