C'wealth Games: All set to make their bow

C'wealth Games: All set to make their bow
Schooling is one of the three athletes ready for glory quest in the commonwealth games.

They are still not out of their teens and have not yet tasted the unique atmosphere of a Commonwealth Games.

But 14-year-old shooter Martina Veloso, 18-year-old paddler Clarence Chew and swimming star Joseph Schooling, 19, have already achieved much in their respective fields, and are expected to make a splash for Singapore in Glasgow.

The 2014 Games, which will open tomorrow morning (Singapore time), are not just for the three debutants to gain experience competing in a world-class environment; they have a proven track record that suggests they are genuine medal hopefuls.

In Schooling's instance, it is a chance to create history by becoming the first Singaporean to win a Commonwealth Games swimming medal.

The young trio of Team Singapore athletes have been building for the occasion for some time, and few will envy the kind of pressure they are under.

Not University of Texas undergraduate Schooling, though.

"That would be pretty sick," said the butterfly sprint specialist with a laugh, when The New Paper reminded him of the possibility he could make history in Scotland.

"But I'm not really feeling the pressure from other people. I care only about the pressure and expectations I put on myself and that's enough.

NO PRESSURE

"I'm not thinking of medals at the moment. I'm just thinking about getting that first race in."

Schooling, who won six golds at last year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar, will swim in five events in Glasgow (see sidebar).

"I'm excited over the 50m fly and it's a race I haven't competed in at a high level before," he said. "I'm excited for my pet event, the 200m fly, too, but I'm taking it one race at a time."

Another young Singaporean athlete who can look forward to multiple events is Chew, who will be involved in the table tennis men's team and mixed doubles events.

The Republic Polytechnic student demonstrated his appetite for the big occasion by claiming some big-name scalps in the form of Hong Kong's Wang Chun Ting (then world No. 37) and Sweden's Per Gerell (then world No. 35) as the men's team finished joint-fifth at the World Championships in May.

His feats mean he is no longer an unknown quantity, but a paddler whom opponents will devote time and effort to analyse for strengths and weaknesses.

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