The Singapore Swimming Association Awards and Appreciation Night took place this past Saturday, April 23, 2016, where 420 guests convened at the Shangri-La Hotel to honor the SSA swimmer’s accomplishments and success over the past year.
Highlighting the awards were Joseph Schooling and Tao Li, who were named the male and female Swimming Athletes of the Year, respectively. 20-year old Schooling remarkably took home gold in each of his 9 events at the 2015 SEA Games, while he also made history winning a bronze medal at the FINA World Championships last August in Kazan. By placing 3rd in the men’s 100m butterfly event, Schooling became Singapore’s first-ever medal winner at a World Championships.
For her part, Tao nabbed 5 golds at the same SEA Games, marked by 4 individual wins and one relay top-of-the-podium finish. In fact, 26-year old Tao has won the women’s 100m backstroke and 400m medley relay in every edition of the SEA Games dating back to 2005.
Grace Fu, Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, was on hand to present the prestigious awards. Of the athletes’ achievements, Fu said, “Beyond medals won, you have inspired many Singaporeans… You have truly become our sporting heroes. We rejoice in your achievements and we share the happiness you feel in giving our country so much pride.”
Anticipating the fulfillment of plans for future success in Tokyo 2020 and beyond, Fu said, “We’ve put in place five-year plans for each discipline and high performance pathways. For all our aquatic disciplines, we aim to be the top four in Asia as well as making a strong push towards the 2020 Olympic Games.”
“As part of our vision to make ‘every Singaporean a swimmer’, we will work closely with ActiveSG to create opportunities for Singaporeans to learn and experience aquatic sports.” (The Strait Times)