Neo Chwee Kok
(1931 – 1986)
In 1951, Neo Chwee Kok held the honour of being the first gold medal winner in the very first Asian Games in New Delhi and subsequently won Singapore an astounding four gold medals in total. Coming into competitive sport at the relatively late age of 18, Chwee Kok proved that he was a strong and determined swimmer. He quickly became known as “the flying fish”.
Another first for Chwee Kok was his participation in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. As Singapore’s first swimmer to compete in the Olympics, he didn’t win a medal but his performance earned him the respect of his competitors. He realised that good physical and mental preparation were paramount to success in competition.
At the 1954 Asian Games, Chwee Kok won a bronze medal in the 100-metre freestyle. He earned a place in the 1999 Straits Times list of Singapore’s 50 Greatest Athletes. Known by various nicknames in his time, Chwee Kok will always be remembered for that first Asian Games triumph. Following his retirement from competition, Chwee Kok spent many years spent grooming future swimming champions.