Joseph Schooling, Theresa Goh to receive National Day awards

Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling (left) will be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal while para-swimmer Theresa Goh will receive the Public Service Star.
Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling (left) will be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal while para-swimmer Theresa Goh will receive the Public Service Star.PHOTO: REUTERS

National swimmers Joseph Schooling and Theresa Goh will receive National Day Awards for their achievements at the recent Rio Olympics and Paralympic Games respectively, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) announced yesterday.

Schooling, who won Singapore's first Olympic gold medal in August, will be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (Pingat Jasa Gemilang).

Not only did the 21-year-old defeat a world-class field in Brazil that included American legend Michael Phelps in the 100m butterfly final, but he also set a new Olympic record of 50.39 seconds, which is also the third-fastest time ever recorded for the event.

Receiving the Meritorious Service Medal is a great honour, said Schooling, a student at the University of Texas in Austin, in a statement. "My Olympic gold medal is the culmination of not only my hard work all these years, but also the strong support from my family and friends, partners and the sports fraternity in Singapore.

"It is an achievement that everyone shares a part of. This award recognition motivates me to keep working hard and I will continue to do my best to fly our Singapore flag high on the world stage."

Para-swimmer Goh, who won a bronze medal at last month's Paralympics, will receive the Public Service Star (Bintang Bakti Masyarakat). The 29-year-old was previously awarded the Public Service Medal (Pingat Bakti Masyarakat).

She was the Republic's most bemedalled athlete at the Asean Para Games with 27 golds and had competed in her fourth Paralympics. Her bronze in the 100m breaststroke SB4 final was her first Paralympic medal.

In her citation, Goh was recognised for "her tremendous spirit of resilience and her perseverance in the pursuit of sporting excellence".

A second National Day Award will "serve as an encouragement and recognition of the hard work by the people who've helped me get to where I am today", she said.

Teammate Yip Pin Xiu, who won two Paralympic golds in Rio, was previously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2008, for winning Singapore's first Paralympic gold at the Beijing Games.

Other national athletes who had previously received National Day Awards include weightlifter Tan Howe Liang, swimmer Joscelin Yeo and para-equestrienne Laurentia Tan.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu congratulated Schooling and Goh, and said: "Both of them have achieved success after years of dogged determination. Along with Yip Pin Xiu, their pursuit of excellence, determination and drive will inspire an entire generation of young people. Their achievements have brought tremendous pride to the country." The honours will be presented by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the National Day Awards Investiture on Nov 6.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Schooling, Theresa Goh to receive National Day Awards'. Print Edition | Subscribe