In a report from the Straits Times, Singaporean Olympians Joseph Schooling and Zheng Quah as well as Quah’s sister Jing Quah will sit out the 2018 Commonwealth Games that will be in April in Australia. All three of those athletes will be focusing their attention on the NCAA Championships at the end of March with Schooling competing for Texas, Zheng competing for Cal and Jing swimming for Texas A&M.
All three athletes have ensure they will instead shift their focus to the end of August for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Schooling in his senior year with the Longhorns where he will be looking to finish his NCAA career perfect as Texas has won three straight men’s team titles and will be vying for a fourth straight team title in Minneapolis in March.
Before they both represent Singapore at the Asian Games, Schooling and Zheng will go head to head individually at the NCAA Championships where they are both favorites to win the 200 fly. Schooling will also be getting serious pressure from Zheng’s Golden Bears in March as Cal is looking for its first team title since 2014 before Texas reeled off three straight. Zheng’s sister Jing will also be looking to help Texas A&M stay in the top three at the women’s meet at Ohio State.
In a statement sent by the Singapore Swimming Association on Friday, Schooling 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.”
Schooling is the reigning Asian Games champion in the 100 fly where he holds the Games Record at 51.76. Schooling also won bronze at the last Games in the 200 fly.
This is a big blow to the butterfly events at the Commonwealth Games as Schooling would have been a favorite against England’s James Guy and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos. All three of those guys have medaled individually in the 100 fly at either the Olympics or the World Championships. Guy and Schooling tied for bronze at the recent World Championships in Budapest.
Zheng would have also been a medal favorite in the 200 fly. Schooling is the reigning silver medalist in the 100 fly at the Commonwealth Games where he was second at 51.69 behind Le Clos. Schooling was also eighth in the 200 fly and Zheng was 14th in the 100 fly at the last Commonwealth Games.
National head coach and performance director for Singapore, Stephan Widmer said in the same media release: “After consultation with the athletes and their coaches, the High Performance Committee, and the SSA’s Selection Committee for the Commonwealth Games, I am supportive of the decision to not nominate the three swimmers for the Commonwealth Games.
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. 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.”
“Continuing my training in the US and then going straight into Asian Games, will enable me to reach my peak during the Games, and I am looking forward to helping Singapore maximize our medal chances.”
Texas A&M’s Jing Wen, who is in her freshman year, added:
“Having no disruptions to my training will allow me to have the continuity needed to achieve my optimal performance at the Asian Games.”
The Asian Games Opening Ceremonies will be August 18 in Jakarta, Indonesia.