Joscelin Yeo Wei Ling
She is Singapore’s most decorated athlete. From the tender age of 9, Joscelin Yeo has personified the highs and lows of being a competitive athlete. After demonstrating she had the right stuff in Singapore, Joscelin made her debut at the South East Asian Games when she was only 12 years old. She won two silvers and three bronze medals at the South East Asian Games in Manila in 1991.
With a triumphant return to Manila for the 2005 Games, Joscelin scooped up another six gold medals, for a grand total of 40 gold medals at the SEA Games. She continues to win medals across the board, even as most athletes specialize in fewer events. In Manila 2005, she set a new record for the 100-metre butterfly at the Games by becoming the first woman to swim the course in under a minute.
In 2006 Joscelin was given a Special Award by the National Olympic Council in recognition of her unparalleled contribution and longevity to the sport of swimming in Singapore. Joscelin is the only Singaporean athlete to have competed in four Olympic Games, beginning in 1992 in Barcelona. Before leaving to train and study in the United States, she had been named Singapore Sportswoman of the Year three times. Joscelin also has experienced the difficulties that go hand-in-hand with being a competitive, long-term athlete. However, she is a living example of the old adage that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Joscelin trained in the United States from 1998, first at the University of California (Berkeley) and then at the University of Texas (Austin). In 2003, Joscelin became the first female University of Texas athlete to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. Over a thousand U.S. and international candidates applied for the 95 scholarships available. Jill Sterkel, co-head of the University’s swimming program, said: “Joscelin is the whole package.”