Hail Joseph, the giant slayer

Jack The Giant Killer is a fairy tale. Joseph (Schooling) the giant slayer is a real story.

He did it in 50.39 seconds in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday at 9.12am (Singapore time), defeating Michael Phelps among other greats, and put Singapore, this little red dot, on the world stage.

In the time that he took to beat the other experienced, world-class contenders, he made a whole nation of people stay glued to the TV, holding their breath, shouting and clapping all the way.

His accomplishment jolted the millions of spectators worldwide to ask: "Who is this wonder boy, and where is Singapore?"

This is an incredible and near-impossible feat and could happen only in fairy tales. But Schooling proved to us that nothing is impossible.

When our flag was raised and the National Anthem played, my two granddaughters, aged five and nine, stood at attention and started singing Majulah Singapura.

I was overcome by great emotion and tears welled up in my eyes.

I believe thousands of other Singaporeans also shed tears of joy.

Schooling made history in those 50.39 seconds and the whole nation celebrated with him.

My wish is that in four years' time, in Tokyo, he will repeat this feat and more to again bring glory to our little red dot.

Neo Poh Goon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2016, with the headline 'Hail Joseph, the giant slayer'. Print Edition | Subscribe