Fans who have so far been unable to catch a glimpse of Joseph Schooling, Singapore's first Olympic champion, will get another chance when he rounds up his homecoming trip with an open-top bus parade today.
Schooling, who created Singapore sporting history when he won the 100m butterfly gold medal at the Rio Games, will go on a three- stop victory parade from 9.30am to 2pm. The University of Texas at Austin student is scheduled to fly back to the United States, where he is studying, early tomorrow morning.
"It has been a long week, but I am really looking forward to the parade tomorrow and to meeting everyone before going back to the States," Schooling told The Straits Times.
The trip will include stops at Marine Terrace Market and the Singtel Comcentre Plaza in Somerset, before ending at Raffles City Shopping Centre. Schooling, 21, will alight at each stop to meet supporters.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin will join the entourage at the third stop.
Yesterday, the swimmer took a break from his media engagements to visit former president S R Nathan at the Singapore General Hospital.
A HARD WORKER
He worked really hard and listened. There was a difference with Joseph, and you could tell he would be a good swimmer.
VINCENT POON, Schooling's first coach, on the swimmer as a child.
Schedule for three pit stops
Pit stop 1 - 50A Marine Terrace Market
Pit stop 2 - Singtel Comcentre Plaza
Pit stop 3 - Raffles City Shopping Centre atrium
Mr Nathan, Singapore's sixth and longest-serving president, is in the hospital's intensive care unit after suffering a stroke last month.
The swimmer also met family and friends at the Tanah Merah Country Club, where he was granted an honorary membership.
The club was where it all started for the swimmer. There, under his first coach Vincent Poon, a three- year-old Schooling began honing his technique and developing an insatiable hunger to win.
In an earlier interview with The Straits Times, Poon had said: "He worked really hard and listened. There was a difference with Joseph, and you could tell he would be a good swimmer." In training, Poon would make him start later than the other boys so he had to play catch-up.
Schooling's father Colin recalled how his son would complain it was unfair. But, he said, it helped instil in him a competitive streak.
The victory parade will round up an event-filled four days since the swimmer arrived in Singapore from Rio de Janeiro on Monday morning, two days after his historic win.
He visited Parliament on Monday, where he was formally congratulated by the House. The next day, he visited his alma mater Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), where 1,607 pupils gave him a rousing reception.