Joseph Schooling to decide future ‘in next few weeks’
Singapore’s former Olympic champion Joseph Schooling said on Wednesday that he will make a decision on his swimming future “in the next few weeks”.
The Rio 2016 gold medalist in 100m butterfly — Singapore’s only Olympic gold in its history — has dropped several hints recently that his career is coming to an end.
He suffered a disappointing Tokyo Games last summer, failing to defend his crown, and also lost his father.
He has been doing compulsory national service back home and his plans for the year were disrupted when the Asian Games in China this September were recently postponed.
Schooling told reporters at the SEA Games in Hanoi, where he won two golds and a bronze, that it was now a question of mapping out the end of his career.
“You don’t want to keep postponing things you know, like this is just the start of my future,” Schooling said.
“Swimming has been great to me, it’s given me a lot of things, it’s opened a lot of doors, but now it’s time to live life, you know, time to do normal things.
“I’m not ready to be done for sure. But what I do know is… we need a plan and hopefully in the next few weeks really, not months.
“Hopefully in the next week or two I’ll actually understand what I can do, given the current circumstances versus what’s realistic as well.”
Schooling said that he had been “disgusted” after the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay on Tuesday, in which Singapore earned a disappointing bronze.
“Not with anyone, but just with myself,” he added.
“And also you need to be realistic, when if you’re not doing that type of training, then what can you expect?”
Singapore requires all male citizens aged 18 to serve two years in the military, the police or the emergency services, an obligation authorities rarely let people skip.
Schooling, who had managed for years to put it off, said that trying to compete while also doing national service had been difficult.
“National service is something that everyone needs to do and none of us are shying away from that,” he said.
“But look, we need to manage expectations, right? Like the reality of it.”