SINGAPORE - Fans of Singapore's first Olympic champion Joseph Schooling will soon get the inside story of the swimmer's stratospheric rise with the launch of two new books written by veteran Straits Times sports journalists.
Both are authorised biographies published by Straits Times Press and carry personalised messages from Schooling. They will be launched in November when the University of Texas student returns to Singapore.
The first book, which will be available at all leading bookstores after its launch, is a children's book written by The Straits Times News Editor Marc Lim. Mr Lim was formerly the paper's sports editor.
The book, From Kid To King, features illustrations from Ministry of Communications and Information (Singapore) scholar Darel Seow, who uses colour drawings to show Schooling's love for the water, how he imagined sharks chasing him to swim faster, how he dealt with his early setbacks and finally his winning performance at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
"Joseph's Olympic journey is relatable to so many of us because it all started with a dream. At some point in our lives, we all dreamt of what we'd want to be when we grow up. I hope this book will help set kids, including my son, on that path of self-discovery and realising theirs dreams, as Joseph did," said Mr Lim.
The second book, titled Schooling Joseph, is geared towards adults. It chronicles his rise from prodigy to bona fide star, covering the years from when he first left Singapore for the United States, and then to his historic gold in Rio. It is based on interviews with Schooling, his family and friends.
It is compiled by veteran sports journalists Rohit Brijnath and Chan U-Gene, who drew from over a decade of Straits Times Sports Desk coverage of Schooling. Both writers are former winners of the Most Inspiring Sports Story of The Year, an accolade given out at the annual Singapore Sports Awards. The awards are organised by the Singapore National Olympic Council and Sport Singapore.
A small number of limited edition, hardcover copies of Schooling Joseph will be autographed by Schooling and used to raise funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.
Both books will be available by the end of October. They have received an enthusiastic response from bookshops, with about 5,000 orders per title from book stores, libraries and distributors so far.
Schooling said: “I really wanted to share my story because, more than anything, I want people to know that anyone can achieve great things as long as they set their minds on it and give it their absolute best. Because I’m just like everyone else - a Singaporean boy with a big dream. I hope my story can inspire readers. This is also my way of saying thanks to everyone who has stood by me all these years.
“I’m grateful to be able to this with ST Press, who have produced great books on our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew before. It’s awesome that some proceeds will go to the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, a charity that I've supported before.”