Singapore Sports Awards 2019

Joseph Schooling still hungry after sixth trophy

The winning feeling gets better each time for Sportsman of the Year Joseph Schooling, while it has not sunk in yet for first-time Sportswoman of the Year Martina Veloso. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
The winning feeling gets better each time for Sportsman of the Year Joseph Schooling, while it has not sunk in yet for first-time Sportswoman of the Year Martina Veloso. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Swim champ now appreciates success more; shooter Veloso earns first Sportswoman nod

Just as he created history at Rio 2016, Olympic swimming champion Joseph Schooling wrote a new chapter in Singapore sports by picking up a historic sixth Sportsman of the Year gong at the Singapore Sports Awards at Orchard Hotel last night.

But the 23-year-old insists he is as hungry as ever to prove himself. This is because he has been stopping to smell the roses a little more, and take stock of his achievements as a way to spur himself to get even better.

Looking at the trophy clasped in his hands, Schooling told The Straits Times: "Yeah, recently, I've been doing more of that. It's not to wander around in the past or things like that, but more so to appreciate the milestones along the way.

"I think too many times we get caught up with what we are doing in the present moment. That's important, but you also need to appreciate what has happened in the past and how you've gotten there.

"You have to appreciate marquees and milestones if you want longevity and to perform better in the future.

"If not, you win and you're just like, 'Eh, It's another award. Six times, cool, bye. Go home, sleep'. You can't. You've got to appreciate it."

Schooling first won the Sportsman of the Year award in 2012, and then another five straight times from 2015 to 2019. There was no winner in 2013.

TAKING STOCK

You have to appreciate marquees and milestones if you want longevity and to perform better in the future. If not, you win and you're just like, 'Eh, It's another award. Six times, cool, bye. Go home, sleep'. You can't. You've got to appreciate it.

JOSEPH SCHOOLING, Rio Olympics 100m butterfly champion, on savouring his achievements.

PRESSING ON

It's a good start to being a senior athlete, and going into full-time shooting. But I know I must keep myself grounded. Training six days a week is not easy, but I just have to keep going.

MARTINA VELOSO, double Commonwealth Games shooting gold medallist, explaining how the award will motivate her.

Only two athletes - swimming great Patricia Chan and table tennis star Li Jiawei - have won the main accolade five times.

Both won the Sportswoman of the Year award, with Chan getting the nod from 1968 to 1972, while Li was the winner from 2002 to 2006.

Schooling, the reigning Olympic 100m butterfly champion, won the 50m and 100m fly titles at the Asian Games in Indonesia last August, along with two bronzes in the relays.

He was nominated alongside now-retired paddler Gao Ning and pencak silat world champion Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin.

Gao, 36, who won the singles and the mixed doubles titles at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia last April, is now the men's national coach.

Farhan, 21, was among seven Singaporeans to clinch gold at the 18th World Pencak Silat Championships last December on home ground.

Said Schooling: "It feels better every single year, honestly. Gao Ning and Farhan are both amazing athletes and you can never tell in these scenarios.

"I had my head down the entire time, hoping to hear my name being called and I'm very happy and humbled to hear it. This will spur me to train even harder, and ground me a bit more, too."

  • HONOUR ROLL

  • SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR:

    Joseph Schooling (swimming)

    SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR:

    Martina Veloso (shooting)

    SPORTSBOY OF THE YEAR:

    Hazim Yusli (silat)

    SPORTSGIRL OF THE YEAR:

    Constance Lien (jiu-jitsu)

    COACH OF THE YEAR:

    Sheik Alau'ddin (silat)

    TEAM OF THE YEAR (TEAM):

    Men's floorball team

    TEAM OF THE YEAR (EVENT):

    Nur Azlyana Ismail, Nurhanishah Shahrudin at the 18th World Pencak Silat Championships

    SPORTSBOY/SPORTSGIRL TEAM OF THE YEAR: 

    Choo Yi Xuan and Kyra Poh (indoor skydiving)

    SPORTS PHOTO OF THE YEAR:

    Lim Weixiang

    SPORTS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR:

    Dilenjit Singh (The New Paper)

    SPORTS EVENT OF THE YEAR (INTERNATIONAL):

    Fina Swimming World Cup Singapore 2018

    SPORTS EVENT OF THE YEAR (LOCAL):

    Asian Netball Championship 2018

While Schooling relished his sixth win, Sportswoman of the Year Martina Veloso revelled in her first.

The 19-year-old shooter won two golds in the 10m air rifle and 50m prone rifle events at the Commonwealth Games, and also set a junior world record in the 50m three-position rifle event last May.

She beat Roanne Ho (swimming), Nurzuhairah Yazid (silat) and Vera Tan (wushu) to the award.

Veloso, who was the Sportsgirl of the Year in 2015, said that she felt the other nominated athletes were "on par" with her.

"My heart was beating really, really fast because before that, I was also nominated in the Sportsgirl Team of the Year award (with Ho Xiu Yi and Adele Tan) but did not win," she said.

"So even now, it hasn't really sunk in. It's really exciting."

Veloso graduated with a sports and wellness diploma from Nanyang Polytechnic in March and is on a gap year to focus on next year's Olympics before she pursues a university degree.

She said the award was a boost to her as she goes through eight-hour days of training, six times a week.

"It's a good start to being a senior athlete, and going into full-time shooting," she said.

"But I know I must keep myself grounded. Training six days a week is not easy, but I just have to keep going."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2019, with the headline 'Jo still hungry after sixth trophy'. Print Edition | Subscribe