SINGAPORE: National swimmers Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu on Monday (Aug 7) became the first Singapore athletes to have orchids named after them at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
This is in recognition of their achievements at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympic Games, where Schooling won Singapore’s very first Olympic gold and Yip clinched two gold medals.
Both athletes had hybrids of the Dendrobium orchid named after them.
The Dendrobium Joseph Schooling is a “vigorous and free flowering” hybrid with yellow and slightly twisted petals, said the National Parks Board (NParks) in a media release.
The Dendrobium Yip Pin Xiu, meanwhile, has striking white petals “infused with magenta”.
“The Singapore Botanic Gardens is pleased to present these orchids to Ms Yip and Mr Schooling for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to Singapore’s world standing in the international sports arena,” said Dr Nigel Taylor, group director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Yip and Schooling are only the second and third Singaporeans to have orchids named after them as part of the Singapore Botanic Gardens celebrity orchid naming programme, the first being singer Stefanie Sun in 2006.
“I thought it was pretty cool, not many people get the chance,” said 22-year-old Schooling. “I think Pin Xiu and I were the second and third people having this orchid named after us so obviously it’s a very special feeling and I’m definitely very excited to see my orchid grow. Hopefully I’ll come back and visit it sometimes.”
As for Yip, 25, she said she felt “very honoured” because the orchid is Singapore’s national flower. “So to be named after something so beautiful and so unique is really a true honour.”