Joseph Schooling clarifies comment about teaching Malaysia 'a thing or two'

Joseph Schooling clarifies comment about teaching Malaysia 'a thing or two'
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Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling has clarified that the comments he made a week ago that drew angry responses from Malaysian netizens were taken out of context.

At the airport upon his return from the World Championships in Budapest, the Olympic gold medallist was quoted as saying, “The 2015 Games was so great for us, but I think it’ll be nice to go to Malaysia’s backyard and teach them a thing or two.”

A report from the New Straits Times included some responses on social media by netizens, who called the comments “distasteful” and “uncalled for”. Some comments also asked Schooling “to be humble”.

But on Tuesday (8 August), following his induction into the Singapore Hall of Fame at the Singapore Sports Hub, Schooling said that the comment was all about helping his young and inexperienced teammates in the Singapore swimming team heading to the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur later this month.

The 22-year-old said, “I think it was taken out of context. I was speaking about how we have a younger team before (that), and I threw in Malaysia somehow. It 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 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 won nine medals at the last SEA Games in 2015 held in Singapore. He will be taking part in six events this time – three events and three relays.