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Asian Games 2018

Asian Games 2018: swimmer Joseph Schooling to retire after 2024 Olympics as Singapore media rejoice in national hero

The Rio butterfly champion is giving his country’s reporters six more years of headlines as he aims for five medals in the pool in Jakarta

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 August, 2018, 3:19pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 August, 2018, 9:36pm

Singapore’s Olympic champion Joseph Schooling is a source of pride for the country’s media corps and the good news is that they have another six years to follow their popular newsmaker.

Schooling on Saturday said that he would quit swimming after the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, adding that his triumph in the Rio Olympics two years ago changed his life.

“We feel a sense of pride because we have someone up there with the best in Asia,” said Today Online’s Low Lin Fhoong. “We are a small country and he’s earned us respect in the Asian and international stage.

“As a reporter, I feel very excited to see how he does at the Asian Games, especially after his win in 2014 in Incheon.”

Schooling’s victory in 2014 at the Incheon Games announced his arrival as a world-class swimmer and he lived up to the hype with a historic victory in Rio.

The 23-year-old told Today online that he will have two more Olympic ventures – in Tokyo 2020 and Paris – before giving way to Singapore’s next generation of swimmers.

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“Rio changed my life, but I like to live in the present,” he was quoted as saying. “I want to swim until 2024, I don’t think I want to swim past 2024 right now.”

Schooling gave Singapore their first gold medal in the Olympic Games when he won the men’s 100m butterfly in 50.39 seconds at Rio, beating the great Michael Phelps into second place. He became a national hero and is now focusing his efforts on a potential five-medal haul in the Jakarta Asian Games.

He is due to swim the 50m freestyle, 50m and 100m butterfly, men’s 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay at the Asian Games.

“That’ll be huge [winning a relay medal], we have a good shot at medalling all three relays. We have a good group of guys coming in, and I’m very excited to see what the guys can do.”

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As for Tokyo, Schooling said it would be difficult to defend his gold but he will give it his best shot.

“For sure (it’ll be harder to win the 100 fly in Tokyo), you always want to prepare yourself for the worst, or hardest … I train to be in the worst possible scenario, you train as hard as you can so you can be at your fittest.”