SWIMMER Quah Zheng Wen shunned Singapore’s print media in Rio de Janeiro not once but twice this week. After a poor performance in the men’s 100m backstroke heats on Monday and failing to get into the 200m fly semis yesterday.
The only comments the Singapore swimmer gave were a four-liner to Channel NewsAsia after his 200m fly semis: “It could have been better. I don’t know, man. I was just kind of tired. I have to talk to Sergio (Lopez) and break down my swims.”
Athletes flying the Singapore flag have the responsibility for giving an account of their performance to Singaporeans through the press. And not only when they are successful but when they also fail.
Or else don’t carry the flag.
This is sport. Success is never guaranteed but athletes’ supporters and backers have a right to know what went well or wrong in their performances. Because time and money have been invested to help them compete at the highest level.
And this is the reality. Despite Zheng Wen’s capabilities, expectations of him bagging a medal in Rio are not high. He is not there yet, in terms of training and preparations.
Tokyo in 2020 is a better bet, but even that can be written off, if he does not have the mental fortitude to face up to his failures and talk about them. It takes courage and honesty and Zheng Wen must prove he still has these in his next event, the 100m fly on Friday.
Or else he is wasting everybody’s time.
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