Ex-SSA man Hafidz to assist Schoolings

The family of Singapore's first Olympic champion Joseph Schooling yesterday appointed a representative to handle all their media and commercial engagements.

In an e-mailed statement, Colin, Joseph's father, said former Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) marketing and communications director Hafidz Ja'afar "will act on behalf of the Schooling family in all possible (matters) that are related to the family".

Joseph's engagements have swelled since his historic win in Rio de Janeiro last month.

The 21-year-old swimmer beat the likes of Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh to bag the 100m butterfly crown in an Olympic-record time of 50.39 seconds.

Colin, 68, said: "We went with Hafidz because he is efficient, he is good at planning and is already familiar with the relevant parties from his time in the SSA, which allows for continuity. Most importantly, I trust him."

Hafidz, 33, resigned from the SSA last week, citing personal reasons. He said he is excited about the learning opportunities his new role presents.

It is believed the Schoolings are still on the lookout for suitable talent management agencies, several of whom have approached them. But that is not a priority as Joseph, a University of Texas student, has to abide by National Collegiate Athletic Association rules on amateurism, one of which forbids an "agreement to be represented by an agent".

Instead, Hafidz will help organise the Schoolings' engagements, the same way he oversaw Joseph's return last month.

The swimmer's four-day stint in Singapore to celebrate his win was packed with activities from the off. Hafidz was an ever-present figure by his side.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-SSA man Hafidz to assist Schoolings'. Print Edition | Subscribe