Joseph Schooling lauded Singapore Paralympic champions Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh saying the Paralympians from the country have sacrificed as much as any other athlete.
The Rio Olympic gold medallist along with Yip and Goh, who bagged two gold medals and a bronze, respectively at the Paralympic Games earlier this year, were at the launch of Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) Legacy Council exhibition at the National Museum on Wednesday.
Apart from her double in the Rio Games, Yip also won a Gold and silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics while Goh, who had been smashing records at international tournaments, ended her Olympic medal drought in 2016.
The 21-year-old, who defeated American legend Michael Phelps in Rio de Janeiro, heaped praise on Yip and Goh and said their achievements were "phenomenal" and no less than his own history-creating feat.
"They sacrificed just as much, if not more. What they accomplished was phenomenal," Schooling spoke of Yip and Goh, as quoted by The Straits Times.
"I don't think anyone should discredit that [Paralympians achievements] just because it is the Paralympics. I think it is stupid [to] think like that."
Schooling also shared his thoughts on the prize money debate that has taken centre-stage since it was announced that the Paralympians will receive lesser cash prize than the Olympians for their Rio achievements.
Under, the Singapore National Council's Multi-million Dollar Award Programme, Schooling will receive $1m for his gold medal. On the other hand, under the National Paralympic Council's Athlete's Achievement Award Program, Yip will receive $200,000 for each of her gold medals and Goh will pocket $50,000 for her bronze.
The Paralympians have also received support from internet users in the country after its neighbour Malaysia reportedly announced that there would be equal prize money for its Paralympians and Olympians.
Schooling seconded Goh's opinion on the issue, after the Paralympian said the the prize money was not in their control and it was not important to them as well. "It is a bonus and... one day hopefully [having equal prize money] will happen but it's not something we're focused on," Goh opined.
"Like Theresa said, we don't go into [training and competing] thinking about the prize money, we go into these things because we want to and we love it," Schooling added.