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Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014

Sports

Asian Games: Schooling passes test to win Singapore swim gold

AFP | Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014

INCHEON, South Korea - Singapore's Joseph Schooling learnt quickly after pocketing a bronze medal, becoming the first male Singapore swimmer to win Asian Games gold since 1982 on Wednesday.

The college freshman stormed to victory in the men's 100 metres butterfly after a third-place finish the 200m at the weekend, setting a new Games record of 51.76 as he upset China's Li Zhuhao and Hirofumi Ikebata of Japan.

"I feel really happy," said Schooling, who is riding the crest of a wave after becoming the first Singaporean to win a swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games in July, when he set a national record of 51.69 to take silver in the 100m fly in Glasgow.

"I wasn't really thinking about it but it always sounds good (to be told) that you're breaking records and surpassing milestones.

"It is one of the things I think about every day - reaching higher levels, doing something special," added the American-trained Schooling, who also placed a creditable fourth in the 400m individual medley relay.

"I'm very pleased about that and I'm very honoured that I could do that for my country today."

But the rising young star, a five-times gold medallist at last year's Southeast Asian Games, revealed that he has surprised even himself with his success in South Korea after being unable to train properly for the past month.

"I've just enrolled as a freshman at the University of Texas," said Schooling, who goes again in Thursday's 50 fly bidding to win a third medal.

"I'm just happy to be sitting here. I've only been training once a day for the last four weeks. I've not really been doing much to be honest.

"It's a huge step and I tried to prepare for this meet as best as I could. But it was no way close to what I should be doing and what I will be doing for future events."

Asked what grade he would give himself for his exploits so far this week, he smiled: "On a scale of one to 10 I'd probably give my preparation five to five-and-a-half, maybe a weak six. So I'm pretty pleased with it."

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