Welcome home, Schooling

Chance to see Schooling at open-top bus parade

Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling poses with his gold medal at the medal ceremony in Rio.
Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling poses with his gold medal at the medal ceremony in Rio. PHOTO: AFP

Fans who missed Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling at the airport yesterday will get a chance to catch a glimpse of Singapore's first Olympic gold medallist during an open- top bus parade.

The bus parade is scheduled for tomorrow, but could be moved to Saturday if the University of Texas student gets approval from his school to extend his stay here.

If he gets the green light, Schooling could attend Sunday's National Day Rally, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will deliver his speech.

Speaking to the media after attending a Parliament sitting, where he was formally congratulated by the House, the 21-year-old said: "Right now, I am scheduled to leave on the 18th, but I need to ask my school if I can stay till Sunday night or Monday morning because there is a National Day Rally on Sunday. If I get (approval from the school), I will stay here till after the rally."

Today, he will make a stop at Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), before holding a press conference in the afternoon, where he intends to talk about his win and his national service (NS) deferment.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen confirmed yesterday that the athlete's NS deferment has been extended until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Schooling will also host a private meet-and-greet session with national athletes at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

For now, though, the jet-lagged swimmer, who arrived in Singapore via Sao Paulo and Barcelona, hopes to rest and spend time with his parents.

Asked about his plans for the week besides his media engagements, he said: " I just want to catch some (sleep) tonight. I can't really (think of) anything besides hanging out with my parents and having some alone time."

Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2016, with the headline 'Chance to see Schooling at open-top bus parade'. Print Edition | Subscribe