Joseph Schooling will decide the future ‘in the next few weeks’

Joseph Schooling celebrates after winning the men's 100m butterfly at the Hanoi SEA Games on May 16, 2022.  Photo: Lianhe Zhaobao (via Straits Times Ann)

Joseph Schooling celebrates after winning the men’s 100m butterfly at the Hanoi SEA Games on May 16, 2022. Photo: Lianhe Zhaobao (via Straits Times Ann)

Former Singapore Olympic champion Joseph Schooling said on Wednesday that he would decide on the future of his swimming “in the next few weeks”.

Rio 2016 gold medalist in the 100-meter butterfly – the only Olympic gold in Singapore’s history – has recently given several indications that his career is coming to an end.

He was the victim of a disappointing Tokyo Games last summer, failed to defend his crown and even lost his father.

He is doing compulsory national service back in the country and his plans were thwarted for years when the Asian Games were recently postponed in China this September.

Schooling told reporters at Hanoi’s SEA Games, where he won two gold and one bronze, that it was now the last mapping question of his career.

“You don’t want to put off what you know, like this is the beginning of my future,” Schooling said.

“Swimming was great for me, it gave me a lot, it opened a lot of doors, but now when it comes to living, you know, it’s time to do normal things.

“I am not ready to confirm. But all I know is … we need a plan and hopefully in the next few weeks, really, not months.

“Hopefully in the next week or two I will actually understand what I can do, the current situation versus the realities.”

Schooling said he was “upset” after Singapore won a disappointing bronze in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay on Tuesday.

“Not with anyone, just with myself,” he added.

“And you have to be realistic. If you don’t do this kind of training, what can you expect?”

In Singapore, all 18-year-old male citizens are required to serve two years in the military, police or emergency services, an obligation authorities rarely allow people to avoid.

Schooling, who has been able to stop it for years, said it was difficult to try to compete while doing national service.

“National service is something that everyone needs to do and none of us are moving away from it,” he said.

“But look, we have to manage expectations, don’t we? That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there. “

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