SINGAPORE: Singapore's United States-based swimmers Joseph Schooling, Quah Zheng Wen and his younger sister Jing Wen will not be competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.
The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) said in a statement on Friday (Jan 12) that the decision was made so that the trio will be better prepared for the 2018 Asian Games in August.
“After consultation with the athletes and their coaches ... I am supportive of the decision to not nominate the three swimmers for the Commonwealth Games," said Stephan Widmer, Singapore’s national head coach. “This decision will ultimately benefit Singapore, as we look to achieve our aims of challenging for medals in Jakarta, and closing the gap on the rest of Asia."
According to the SSA, the US-based trio have started a training cycle which was "designed for peak performance in August at the Asian Games".
It explained that the move to skip the Commonwealth Games would be key to Singapore's aim of coming back with "multiple individual and relay medals" for the Asiad in Jakarta.
PRIORITISING THE ASIAN GAMES
The SSA also said that Singapore was more likely to win more medals in Indonesia than at the Commonwealth Games.
At the last Asian Games in 2014, Singapore's swimming contingent bagged one gold, two silvers and three bronzes, courtesy of Schooling (one gold, one silver, one bronze), Tao Li (one silver, one bronze) and the men’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay team (one bronze).
Singapore finished behind China, Japan and Kazakhstan in the swimming standings.
“To be competitive with the stronger Asian nations, we need these three high performers to be at their absolute peak. That’s crucial for Singapore to be in team relay medal contention at these Games," said Mr Widmer.
“Having been successful at the SEA Games level as a nation, our focus as an association is to switch our efforts now on Asia," he added.
The three swimmers have been notified of the decision.
Schooling, who is in the final year of his studies at the University of Texas, said: “This will allow me to concentrate fully on the Asian Games and ensure that I put in my best performances for Singapore in Jakarta."