SPORTING HEROES > HALL OF FAME > NEO CHWEE KOK
The late Neo Chwee Kok (1931 – 1986) was the first swimmer in Singapore to compete at the Olympics. He finished 3 rd for the 100m freestyle heats at Helsinki in 1952. Although Neo did not win a medal, his performance won him the respect of his fellow competitors.
At the 1st Asian Games in New Delhi in 1951, Neo earned the honour of winning the first gold medal in the Asian Games history. Dubbed the “Flying Fish”, he splashed his way to an astounding four-gold medal haul at the inaugural Games. He was 21. With four gold medals in his bag, (1500m, 400m, and 800m freestyle and the 4 x 100m relay) he was to emerge as the most celebrated star of the New Delhi Games. His relay and 800m golds were won in particularly dramatic fashion as he had only 10minutes of rest in between the two events.
To date, no one has come close to matching his four Asian Games gold record.
The most memorable event for Neo, however, was in 1954. He swam against the then world champion, John Hendricks of Australia at the Chinese Swimming Club, losing to him only by a mere touch. In the process, he established a new national record which was to remain unbroken for eight years.