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What Will Joseph Schooling Do With His RM2.97mil Award?

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SINGAPORE: Olympic champion Joseph Schooling will return to Singapore in November for a Singapore Swimming Association fund-raiser – but the swimmer himself is also set for a cash injection.

The 21-year-old, Singapore’s only medallist at the Rio Games, claimed the 100m butterfly gold and the S$1mil (RM2.97mil) award from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) that comes with it, the first Singapore athlete to do so.

Of this, 20 per cent will be given to the Singapore Swimming Association for training and development, as stipulated by the SNOC. Schooling will receive about S$661,650 (RM1.97mil) after taxes.

It is believed that the SNOC will hold an appreciation dinner for Team Singapore’s Olympians during the week that Schooling is in town. There, it will also present the S$1mil (RM2.97mil) monetary award, which is part of the Multi-Million-Dollar Awards Programme (MAP) sponsored by the Tote Board and Singapore Pools.

The programme is designed to reward medallists at major games.

Schooling, a University of Texas student, disclosed that he had not decided what to do with the money.

He said: “I don’t really know. My parents have always managed my finances and I’ll let them decide what to do.”

His father, businessman Colin Schooling, said: “We borrowed money from banks to pay for his education and training, so this will help cover (some of the loans).

“The beauty of it is my son actually told us, ‘Mummy and Daddy, don’t worry, just use (the money) to pay off the loans.’”

Colin and his wife May have spent more than $1mil (RM2.97mil) supporting their only child’s aspirations. This includes covering his five years at the Bolles School, a private college preparatory school. Fees at the school in Florida are around US$41,450 (RM166,649) a year.

There is also the rented apartment that costs about US$2,800 (RM11,257)a month, on top of living expenses and other incidentals such as flights and accommodation and even physiotherapy.

It helps that Schooling has been the top earner of the MAP in recent years. Last year, he was given $31,250 (RM92,918) for his SEA Games outing, where he won all of his nine races.

In 2014, he pocketed $370,000 (RM1.1mil) for four medals – a silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and a gold, a silver and a bronze at the Incheon Asian Games.

He is also a Sports Excellence scholarship holder. He belongs to the highest of three tiers and is supposed to receive $90,000 (RM267,456) annually.

May Schooling, who is a member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said: “It’s been a wild ride but, like I always say, we’re all enjoying the journey.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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