Tan: Quah has potential for Olympic medal
Joseph Schooling earned the plaudits with his sensational performance at the Olympics, understandably overshadowing Quah Zheng Wen's own historic feat in Rio.
Quah (above) became the first Singaporean man to qualify for an Olympic semi-final, in the 200m butterfly.
He also made the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly, which Schooling won.
The Singapore Swimming Association's (SSA) newly appointed National Training Centre (NTC) squad head coach Gary Tan believes Quah has the potential to win an Olympic medal in 2020.
And Tan will back Quah, whether or not the 20-year-old, who has been granted an extension to defer his National Service, chooses to train at the NTC or abroad.
"For him to get that competitive environment (that he requires), he needs to take a step further and say maybe (going to the) US can be a possibility as well. I think the option is open for him to do that," Tan told the media at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday.
Quah was one of the first swimmers Tan worked with when he started out as a coach.
"I think it's me (who understands him best) and I would give that go-ahead (for him to train in the US) if I felt that was the best decision for him.
"If he stays, we will bring in the competition for him. If he decides to go, we will continue to support him in any way possible."
Some believe Schooling's decision to train in America played a big part in his journey to becoming an Olympic champion, and Tan and the SSA's technical director, Sonya Porter, are making moves to recreate a similar world-class environment at the Singapore Sports Hub's Aquatic Centre.
Tan revealed that the wheels are in motion to engage training partners from US collegiate and club sides, the Australian Institute of Sport and Hungarian teams to come here, as well as to provide avenues for the Singapore team to train in the respective countries.
No deadline has been set for Quah to come to a decision, but Tan believes that the swimmer - who has already resumed training after a post-Olympics break - is training at a "different level" than most in Singapore.
"The sky's the limit for the boy," said Tan.
- SHAMIR OSMAN