For the second consecutive year, national swimmer Joseph Schooling earned Sportsman of the Year honors at the Singapore Sports Awards this week. This is Schooling’s third such award, as he was first recognized back in 2012 at just 17 years old.
The Singaporean stand-out brought home his nation’s first-ever medal at a World Championships when he claimed bronze in the 100m butterfly last year in Kazan. Prior to that, Schooling threw down a perfect nine-for-nine gold siege at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Schooling was selected for the acknowledgement over fellow nominees Gao Ning (table tennis), Mervyn Toh (canoeing) and Colin Cheng (sailing). The 21-year-old swimmer is currently training in the United States and unable to attend the ceremony, but conveyed his gratitude via recorded video message.
“I just want to say what an honor it is to win this award. I want to thank my family and my friends and everyone who’s been there with us on this tough journey.
“I wish I could be there to celebrate this time with you all.”
Upon presenting the award to Schooling’s father, Singapore National Olympic Council President, Tan Chuan-Jin commented, “Swimmer Joseph Schooling continues to awe many others with his exploits in the water. In 42 days’ time, more than 20 athletes will be flying our flag high at the upcoming Olympic Games, so please join me in supporting their endeavors and cheer them on as they represent Singapore in Rio de Janeiro.”
Also acknowledged during the ceremony was Quah Zheng Wen, Schooling’s national training center teammate who also earned an Olympic berth. Wen won the ‘Sportsboy of the Year award.’
Sergio Lopez, Schooling’s coach at both the Bolles School and now in Singapore, collected National Coach of the Year honors. Lopez announced this past April that he will be leaving his post after the Rio Olympics to become an Assistant Coach at Auburn University.