KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 – It seems that Olympic gold medal-winning Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling plans to send his Malaysian counterparts “back to school” in the upcoming Kuala Lumpur 2017 Sea Games (KL2017).
The 22-year-old wunderkind, who beat US phenomenon Michael Phelps in the men’s 100m butterfly in Rio de Janeiro last year, boasted that Singapore will be able to “teach” Malaysian swimmers a lesson in their own backyard during KL2017.
“We have a chance to do something special at the Sea Games. The 2015 (Sea Games) was something special for us. I think it will be nice to go to Malaysia’s backyard and teach them a thing or two,” he told Channel News Asia recently.
Schooling, whose mother is Malaysian, said he is looking forward to the event, as Singapore is sending a young and solid group.
“It will be a lot of fun,” he said.
His statement, which was made upon his return to Singapore after participating in the 2017 FINA World Championship in Hungary, did not go down well with netizens.
Facebook user Zhiyu Huang said Schooling should always be humble when abroad, as he still lacks experience under his belt.
“When you are in other people’s territory, it is better to be humble.
“Regardless of who he wants to teach, he has not been successful long enough to teach others.”
Another user, Esther Lee, said his comments were distasteful and uncalled for.
“Be humble of who you are and what you have achieved and you will earn respect.
“Our neighbouring countries have (produced) many world-class athletes for decades,” said Lee, who pointed out Malaysia’s success in bagging gold through diver Cheong Jun Hoong in the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest recently.
Schooling finished third in the 100m butterfly final at the World Championships.
The KL Sea Games will be held from Aug 19 to 30, while the Asean Para Games is scheduled from Sept 17 to 23 (collectively, they are known as KL2017).