Low Upbeat on Olympics

Much is expected of Singapore's top butterfly swimmers Joseph Schooling (front) and Quah Zheng Wen at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next August.
Much is expected of Singapore's top butterfly swimmers Joseph Schooling (front) and Quah Zheng Wen at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next August.ST FILE PHOTOS
Much is expected of Singapore's top butterfly swimmers Joseph Schooling (front) and Quah Zheng Wen at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next August.
ST FILE PHOTOS

Rio chef de mission feels S'pore closer to a medal in other sports besides table tennis

A series of landmark medals over the past year has given Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) vice-president Low Teo Ping plenty of optimism ahead of next year's Rio Olympics.

The 70-year-old, who was announced as Team Singapore's chef de mission for the quadrennial meet in Brazil yesterday, told The Straits Times: "Of course we have to manage expectations... (but) based on what has been achieved at the previous major Games, I think we are much closer to reaching a medal than ever before in sports other than table tennis.

"The results bode well, and we should look to build on this positive momentum."

In the last two Olympics, the Singapore women's table tennis contingent captured three medals - two bronzes and a silver. But other sports have also made breakthroughs on the international stage in the last 12 months.

Swimmer Joseph Schooling won Singapore's first Commonwealth Games swimming medal last July, finishing second behind world champion Chad le Clos in the 100m butterfly.

EXCEL AT THE RIGHT TIME

We expect athletes who are going to represent Singapore at the Olympics to really work towards peaking next August and show their best.

LOW TEO PING on his standards

Two months later, he ended Singapore's 32-year wait for a men's swimming gold at the Asian Games when he won in the same event. He also added a silver and a bronze in Incheon.

The University of Texas student, who won three National Collegiate Athletic Association titles in his freshman year, also shattered Ang Peng Siong's 1982 50m freestyle record in June's SEA Games, where he won all nine of his events.

Schooling's team-mate Quah Zheng Wen is also making rapid progress, having met the Olympic "A" time in the 200m fly, and finished the SEA Games as the most bemedalled athlete with 12 medals.

Quah was granted deferment from full-time national service this month, and Low said that would give him "impetus to work towards (a medal)".

Then there are sailors Samantha Yom and Bernie Chin, crowned Youth Olympic Games champions in the Byte CII last August.

While the full slate of athletes has not been finalised, Low, who will be attending a chef de mission seminar in Rio de Janeiro next month, said: "Given all these, we're going to the Games more upbeat than before, and we expect athletes who are going to represent Singapore at the Olympics to really work towards peaking next August and show their best."

The veteran sports administrator, who had led Team Singapore at the Asian Games (2010), Commonwealth Games (2014), and SEA Games (2007) previously, also promised that there would be no repeat of hiccups from previous campaigns.

In 2012, Schooling's swim cap and goggles breached competition rules while the cap issue resurfaced at last July's Commonwealth Games, when 10 out of the 11 swimmers had to be issued with new caps when the original ones were found to have logos bigger than the regulation size.

Said Low: "We will make sure that we do not repeat any of these... We will have a series of meetings with the team managers to make sure they know what is expected of them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'Low Upbeat on Olympics'. Print Edition | Subscribe