The young lad, Joseph Schooling, has come of age in so many ways, bringing together a nation through sport. By Kannan Chandran
Making a big splash, Joseph Schooling set a number of records in motion on his way to winning the 100m butterfly at the Rio Olympics.
Winning Singapore’s first Olympic Gold was historic! Epic! Brilliant!
Doing it in an Olympic Record time of 50.39 seconds and leaving the three silver medalists — American Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos of South Africa and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary — far behind was smashing.
Hearing the Majulah Singapura for the first time on the global stage was emotional. Did you rise to the occasion as Schooling sang along, hand on heart?
Beating superstar Phelps, the most decorated Olympian, three times on the way to the Gold medal was a show of much promise, not just for the individual, but possibly for the nation.
Now, there will be fresh interest in the latent talent that the little red dot may have to offer the sporting fraternity. There’s certainly a lot invested in the infrastructure and hardware, so it’s time for the software and heartware to get a huge shot in the arm.
Schooling has his parents’ unwavering support and belief in their only child to thank.
May and Colin Schooling’s love for their son supported rather than drove him to success. Schooling pushed himself in determined fashion to take the race to his childhood idol, Phelps, and beat him on the world stage.
The Eurasian lad may have splashed his way to gold, and will likely make greater waves in time to come, but he’s also showed the multi-racial country that sport is perhaps a wonderful way to unify a nation.
Sport has seldom factored high in the psyche of the Singapore parent. Not at a level that Schooling has taken it. Parents might dream of their children becoming famous athletes, but invariably, a steady job and life’s practicalities will take precedence in the scheme of things. But sport offers an opportunity to be part of a village of different races, religions and backgrounds, rooting for the same cause.
They may not all become Olympic champions, but it will complete their schooling.