by Joseph Nathan
Sporting events like the on-going Tokyo 2020 Olympics is meant for people to come together to celebrate the diversity of our humanity.
Watching deserving athletes winning a medal or two is nice, especially when it comes to national pride.
At the last Olympics, Singaporeans celebrated our first gold medal in swimming as Joseph Schooling won the 100m fly, beating swimming legends like Michael Phelps.
Then came the shocker — his victory was the result of years of extensive financial investment and emotional sacrifices by his parents and has nothing to do with our sports officials or National Sports Association (NSA).
Yes, Joseph was rewarded with a million-dollar reward for his Olympics’ Gold but wasn’t it ironic that the NSA for swimming gets to take a cut of his reward for doing nothing?
As a celebrated hero, he was even paraded in parliament as politicians rushed to get in on face time with him to score political points.
Realities Before Tokyo2020 Olympics
A year prior to the Tokyo2020 Olympics, sports commentators were already questioning if Joseph’s present timing was even in contention for the Olympics.
With added weight and the glaring lack of competitive ecosystem in Singapore to keep him combat-fit, the writings were already on the wall that Joseph may not be in any condition to defend his title.
The media was aware of these shortcomings, so were the politicians and sporting officials.
Yet, the media did the unthinkable by sensationalizing Joseph’s outing at the Olympics without concern that they were actually setting him up for a massive fall from grace.
In the process, other deserving athletes were deprived of media coverage.
As such, l am puzzled when the Singapore President, Halimah Yacob lashes out at some Singaporeans for their constructive criticisms against the lack of holistic sport development in Singapore.
Truth be told, they were right as Joseph was in no condition to be defending his titles as the recent timings of his competitors were far superior than his by a few seconds.
Exploitation & Lack Of Accountabilities
As such, shouldn’t Halimah be lashing out at our media for exploiting the naivety and celebrity-persona of Joseph just to draw a few more advertising dollars despite knowing that he was in no condition to defend his title?
Despite knowing the importance of having a competitive ecosystem to support and train our Sporting Heroes, none of our NSAs or officials actually started anything that can give our athletes an edge over their competitors.
Again, shouldn’t Halimah be lashing out at our NSAs, the sports officials, ministers and experts involved for failing our Sporting Heroes?
Unless her public outburst on Facebook is not timed to take the heats off her political colleagues, then Halimah ought to order an inquiry into how our NSAs are being managed currently and demand that the Singapore Sports Council accounts for their use of public monies and shows Singaporeans what they had truly achieved all these years?
As she holds the highest public office in Singapore, shouldn’t Halimah ought to have acted in decorum of her public office by thanking Singaporeans for their constructive comments, feedbacks and criticisms so that Singapore can truly learn from our shortcomings, reduce wasteful redundancies and put our monies on where it matters most?
Yes, we should support our athletes and give our Sporting Heroes like Joseph and his family the time and space to come to term with their performances.
In fact, we should be encouraging all our athletes and helping them to hold all those non-performing bureaucrats and incompetent officials to task for their failures to help and support our athletes.
As such, Halimah ought to understand just how toxic the prevailing “No-Blame” culture of the 4G political leadership really is and should stop trying to impose them on Singaporeans.
All non-performing bureaucrats and incompetent officials must be removed if Singapore truly aspires for our Sporting Heroes to thrive and excel in their sports and bring glory to our country.
Unless all these Hard Truths are addressed holistically, l seriously think that our Sporting Heroes and Singaporeans truly deserve better…