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Joscelin Yeo Wei Ling (Chinese: 杨玮玲; pinyin: Yáng Wěilíng; born 2 May 1979) is a former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) from Nov 2006 to Apr 2011 and a former competitive swimmer from Singapore. Yeo won 40 gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games.[1] She also represented Singapore in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Summer Olympics. Yeo was elected as a Rhodes Scholar but never took up the scholarship.[2] During the 2012 London Olympics, she was a TV analyst for certain Asian markets on ESPN Star Sports.

Joscelin Yeo Wei Ling
Personal information
Nationality  Singapore
Born (1979-05-02) 2 May 1979 (age 39)
Sport Swimming

Yeo began her international swimming career at age 11, at the 1990 Asian Games. She swam at almost every major international meet, including the Southeast Asian Games (8 times), the Asian Games (4), the Olympics (4), and the Commonwealth Games (3). She ended her 16-year swimming career in early 2007.


Swimming careerEdit

National recordsEdit

(correct as of 22 August 2009)

  • 200 m individual medley - 2:16.86, 23 May 2004, 2004 Santa Clara International Swim Meet


Yeo swam for Singapore at four consecutive Olympics (1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004).[3]

Asian GamesEdit

Yeo competed in four Asian Games (1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006). In the 1994 Games and the 2002 Games, she won bronze medals in the 100 Butterfly and was the only Singapore swimmer to win a medal at both Games. The 2006 Games was her last international competition.

Southeast Asian GamesEdit

Yeo swam at eight SEA Games (1991-2003), and currently hold the record of the most gold medals in SEA Games history with 40 gold medals,[4] surpassing fellow Singaporean swimmer Patricia Chan's record of 39 gold medals.[5]

In 1991, Yeo made her SEA Games debut in Manila as a 12-year-old. She won several silvers and bronzes.

In 1993, with the Games held in Singapore, Yeo won nine gold medals, which included 7 individual and 2 relay races. At the Games, she lost only one race: the 400 IM to compatriot Ooi Yufen May.

In 1995, in Chiangmai, Yeo also won the same seven individual races as in 1993, but lost out on the two relays. She was also the only gold medallist in the Singapore swimming squad.

In the 1997 SEA Games, Yeo won three gold medals.

In the 1999 Games, Yeo won six gold medals, all in Games Records. She was slated for 12 events, but pulled out of the fourth day of competition, due to a right shoulder injury. The only individual race she lost was the 400 Free, where she managed a bronze, finishing behind Pilin Tachakittiranan of Thailand and compatriot Bouvron Mei-Yen Christel.

In 2001, Yeo took part in lesser events as compared to previous SEA games. Yeo won three gold medals.

In 2003, Yeo won six gold medals, inclusive of two relay golds. This helped the Singapore women's swim team to clinch their first relay success since 1993.

In 2005, Yeo participated in her last SEA Games in Manila, the same city where she debuted for SEA Games. Yeo won six golds. In the 100 Butterfly, Yeo also finally finished in under one minute, winning the race in 59.91s.

World recordEdit

Yeo and her University of California, Berkeley teammates Haley Cope, Staciana Stitts and Praphalsai Minpraphal broke the 4x50 Medley Relay (Short-course) World record in 2000 with a time of 1:49.23.


Yeo originally wanted to call it a day after the 2005 SEA Games. But after a splendid performance, she decided to continue till the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This decision saw her swim at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the 2006 Asian Games. On 30 January 2007, Yeo announced her retirement at a press conference saying she did not have the motivation to go on with another year of training till Beijing, and retired at 28.[6]


Yeo was awarded Singapore's Sportsgirl of the Year award in 1994, and the Sportswoman of the Year awards in 1993, 1995 and 1999.[4] She was prevented from winning any more due to a rule that stopped athletes from winning more than three times. This rule has since been lifted.[7]


In 2004, before the 2004 Olympics, Yeo released her autobiography, titled On the Move: My Career, My Life, which chronicled all the milestones in her life and swimming career, and also nuggets she shared about her national teammates.

Post-swimming careerEdit

Yeo opened a swim school, called Yeo's Aquatics, along with her elder brother Leonard. She is also actively involved in church work, working as a mentor within the Youth ministry of New Creation Church.

In 2009, Yeo became a non-elected Nominated Member of Parliament for a term of two-and-a-half years, the youngest of her batch.[8]

She made a cameo appearance in Singapore's MediaCorp TV Channel 5 Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd playing herself, in the eighth season of the show, where the main character challenges her and fails.

On 7 June 2009, Yeo with Canagasabai Kunalan were unveiled as the two deputy mayors of the Youth Olympic Village for the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics held in Singapore.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Yeo is married to Joseph Christopher Purcell, born 1983, a pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, on 9 July 2010 in HortPark.[10] Both are actively involved in the youth ministry of New Creation.

On 10 September 2011, Joscelin gave birth to a baby boy.[11]


  1. ^ Leong, Cubby. "SEA Games: Joscelin Yeo makes history". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 7 December 2006. 
  2. ^ "Quick Facts on Joscelin Yeo". University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2006. 
  3. ^ "Joscelin Yeo". Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Joscelin Yeo Wei Ling". National Library, Singapore. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Patricia Chan Li-Yin". National Library, Singapore. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Singapore swimmer Joscelin Yeo retires from competitive swimming". MediaCorp Channel NewsAsia. 
  7. ^ "Singapore Sports Awards". National Library, Singapore. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "New NMPs appointed". The Straits Times. 
  9. ^ "YOG Village mayor announced". The Straits Times. 
  10. ^ "S'pore's swim queen ties the knot". Yahoo. 
  11. ^ [1]

External linksEdit