There's still time for Schooling comeback

Joseph Schooling at the 18th Fina World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, Korea, on July 26, 2019.
Joseph Schooling at the 18th Fina World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, Korea, on July 26, 2019.PHOTO: SIMONE CASTROVILLARI

I read Mr Rohit Brijnath's article with a tinge of sadness and, perhaps a sense of foreboding that our potential Olympic gold medallist is on the decline (C'mon Jo, get up, fight and remember who you are, July 27).

Indeed, he seems unlikely to win even a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020.

Yet, remembering how American football coach Vince Lombardi turned around the fortunes of the Green Bay Packers, and Tiger Woods' historic 2019 Golf Masters win in Augusta, I can't help but have great faith that Joseph Schooling can still make a great comeback.

Schooling must have belief in himself and put in time and effort to achieve his coveted dream of winning another Olympic medal.

There are many other classic examples in sports of novice teams outclassing top and well-known teams, football being a case in point.

In the FA Cup, Manchester City lost 0 to 1 to Wigan Athletic in 2013, and Chelsea lost 2 to 4 to Bradford City in 2015.

Head swimming coach Stephan Widmer said of Schooling: "Today is a painful lesson but we will learn from it" (Don't count him out yet: S'pore head coach, July 27).

In sports, there may be unexpected outcomes and a sportsman must have the mental resilience to stay afloat and not be easily daunted by events and circumstances that may betray his faith in himself.

Keep doing right, keep training and be gracious when receiving feedback from coaches and "luck" will be on the athlete's side.

Schooling can draw courage from knowing that all sportsmen in Singapore will support him and will hope he will not give up despite recent setbacks and do his very best at Tokyo 2020.

Tan Teck Huat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2019, with the headline 'There's still time for Schooling comeback'. Print Edition | Subscribe