School­ing down­plays com­ments af­ter on­line furore

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SIN­GA­PORE: Sin­ga­pore’s Olympic cham­pion swim­mer Joseph School­ing in­sisted yes­ter­day he meant no of­fence with a vow to teach Malaysians “a thing or two” when the neigh­bour­ing coun­try hosts the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games this month.

School­ing, who is a na­tional idol af­ter win­ning the city-state’s first gold medal at last year’s Sum­mer Olympics, made the com­ments on his re­turn to Sin­ga­pore last week from the world swim­ming cham­pi­onships in Budapest, spark­ing an on­line furore.

“We have a chance to do some­thing spe­cial at the SEA Games; 2015 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 said.

His re­ac­tion trig­gered anger on­line, es­pe­cially in neigh­bour­ing Malaysia, which has a his­tor­i­cally prickly re­la­tion­ship with Sin­ga­pore.

“That com­ment is un­called for. Very dis­taste­ful; com­ing from so called pride of Sin­ga­pore,” one web user Paul Kin Lim, posted un­der an on­line ver­sion of the ar­ti­cle.

“It is bet­ter to be hum­ble,” said an­other post.

School­ing re­sponded to the on­line anger, say­ing his com­ments were “taken out of con­text“, Sin­ga­pore’s Straits Times news­pa­per re­ported.

“I was speaking about how we have a younger team, and I threw in Malaysia some­how — must’ve been the 17 hours’ of jet lag — and then I said I can’t wait to go into their back­yard and teach them a les­son or two,” he was cited as say­ing in the pa­per.

“Which made it sound like I was crit­i­cis­ing Malaysia, I was ac­tu­ally talking about our younger kids go­ing there and teach­ing (our) rook­ies a thing or two about the launch pad that we have in the Sea Games to big­ger and bet­ter meets in the fu­ture.”

School­ing is tak­ing part in six events at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.

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