Former Olympic champion Joseph Schooling announced that he will pull out of the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
In a statement on Mar. 1, 2023, the 27-year-old national swimmer said:
"After careful consideration with my team, I have decided to pull out of the SEA Games.
This was not an easy decision, but I am currently not at the level at which I hold myself to perform. Ultimately, my country comes first before individual accolades.
I have decided to give my spot to team mates who have been getting themselves ready and considered for selection while I cheer from home and focus on my Navy duties."
This is the first time Schooling is not representing Singapore at the SEA Games since his debut in 2011.
According to The Straits Times, national swimming head coach Gary Tan said that Schooling's presence will be missed but the team will "keep moving forward".
He added, as reported by ST: "[Schooling] has been a mainstay of the national team for quite some time and I know that [he] believes as well that there are capable swimmers in the team who can step up to the challenge."
Schooling has attained 29 titles at the SEA Games.
In August 2022, he was embroiled in a controversy after admitting that he and fellow swimmer Amanda Lim had consumed cannabis while overseas.
Top image from Joseph Schooling/Instagram.