Schooling: Singapore should support its athletes
Olympic champ Schooling calls for more funding
He is forever grateful to his parents for backing him to the hilt in his quest to realise his dream, and many around the country have spoken of their admiration for Colin and May Schooling, who spent more than US$1 million ($1.42m) for their son Joseph.
Now, the Olympic men's 100m butterfly gold medallist is campaigning for more support for aspiring Singapore athletes as they reach for the stars.
"I don't have much time this trip to talk to the people from Sport Singapore or the SSI (Singapore Sports Institute)... but I'd love to share my ideas and my views (on what can be improved)," said Schooling yesterday at the Tanah Merah Country Club.
"When I race, what is on my chest? It's not my name, it's the Singapore flag. Do you think it's fair if my parents have to pay all this money for me to represent the country?
"There should be better support if a person is serious and committed enough to change their lifestyles drastically to bring glory and honour to the country.
"I definitely think the national sports associations can fund people better."
Schooling, 21, will receive $1m under the Multi-million Dollar Award Programme for winning Olympic gold in August and he said it will go towards repaying his parents' investment.
As the face of Singapore sport, he was asked if he had a role to play in drawing corporations to back athletes.
"I don't think it's my job to encourage companies; my job is to break the world record and stay on top, and go to school and get good grades.
"It is the (authorities') job to go find that funding, support me, and give me the best opportunity to succeed."
While he acknowledged that Singapore sport's success stories on the world stage are still very thin, Schooling was happy that there has been a "huge increase" in support in the last few years.
He said input from former Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) nutritionist Kirsty Fairbairn, and SSI biomechanist Ryan Hodierne, were crucial as he powered to victory in Rio.
He revealed that Hodierne and Singapore Swimming Association high-performance manager Sonya Porter helped him analyse where his main opponents would be stronger or weaker in the 100m butterfly race in Rio.
Said Schooling: "During the race, I was more mentally prepared for people coming up next to me in the last 25m, didn't freak out, and kept pressing.
"We should pay more attention to things like that and help athletes mentally prepare themselves, by giving a picture over what is going to happen."