Despite having touched down on home soil only this morning, Singapore's swimming sensation Joseph Schooling is already a very busy man. After spending two hours with fans on his arrival, he also attended a very special session of Parliament this afternoon.
TeamSG swimmer Joseph Schooling addressing his fans and supporters upon arrival back home. Photo: Sport Singapore
For his unprecedented accomplishments in the Olympic Games, Joseph and his family were personally invited to a parliamentary session today by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, where the athlete took centre stage.
Led by Minister of Social and Family Development and Singapore National Olympic Council President Tan Chuan-Jin, the Singapore Parliament moved a motion to formally recognise the 21-year-old's achievements at this year's Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and at the same time, express their support for athletes still competing in Rio.
The motion was a significant one, as it marked the first time an athlete was given such an honour in Parliament.
“You know, first guy, first sportsman to be honoured in Parliament, getting a standing ovation, that’s pretty cool for me and my family,” said Joseph, adding that the session gave him “goosebumps”.
TeamSG swimmer Joseph Schooling with his parents, Colin and May, at the parliament. Photo: Sport Singapore
The swimmer also expressed appreciation for the support he received from the Members of Parliament.
“Everyone’s taking pictures, taking selfies and everything. It’s more casual so it’s really chill and it was cool and it’s nice to see that side,” the University of Texas student said.
Via the Facebook page of Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen, it was also announced at approximately 11.32am on Monday morning that Joseph will have his National Service enlistment deferred until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, allowing the latter to continue his swimming exploits.
In an Olympic record-breaking fashion, Joseph had upset United States swimming legend and childhood hero Michael Phelps in the 100-metre Butterfly final to claim gold in 50.39 seconds, becoming Singapore's first ever Olympic gold medallist.
Joseph will be returning to Texas in a couple of days’ time, where he will continue his academic pursuits and training.
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