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Swimmer Joseph Schooling's prize money for performance in Hanoi SEA Games put on hold

Joseph Schooling, who won two golds and a bronze during the SEA Games, recently confessed to using cannabis overseas. He was absent from the Major Games Award Programme awards presentation and Team Singapore appreciation dinner on Wednesday (Sep 14). 

Swimmer Joseph Schooling's prize money for performance in Hanoi SEA Games put on hold

Joseph Schooling competes in the men's 100m butterfly during 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, on May 16, 2022. (File photo: AP/Minh Hoang)

SINGAPORE: Sixty-eight athletes who won medals during the SEA Games and Commonwealth Games were awarded up to S$860,000 for their achievements at an event on Wednesday (Sep 14), the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said in a news release.

However, CNA understands that the prize money for Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling’s performance at the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi has been put on hold. SNOC declined to elaborate when asked by CNA.

Schooling, who won two golds and one bronze in Hanoi, was absent from the Major Games Award Programme (MAP) awards presentation and Team Singapore appreciation dinner on Wednesday. 

Last month, the swimmer confessed to consuming cannabis overseas in May when he was on short-term disruption from full-time National Service (NS) to train and participate in the SEA Games.

Given his abuse of disruption privileges, MINDEF had said Schooling will no longer be eligible for leave or disruption to train or compete while in NS.

Schooling issued an apology, saying that he “gave in to a moment of weakness” after going through a very tough period in his life. 

During the award presentation on Wednesday, the reward for Team Singapore medallists split into S$495,000 for the SEA Games and S$365,000 for the Commonwealth Games.

A 424-member contingent represented Singapore in 33 sports during May’s SEA Games in Hanoi and had won 47 gold, 46 silver and 71 bronze medals.

There were also five Games records, 16 national records and 41 personal best milestones set during the Games, said SNOC.

The contingent, led by chef de mission S Sinnathurai, had 245 debutants who contributed 62 medals out of the 164 won by Team Singapore.

Swimmer Quah Jing Wen was recognised as the Most Valuable Player (female), clinching six gold and one bronze medals at the Games.

Quah won Singapore’s first swimming gold medal at the SEA Games in the women’s 200m butterfly finals, where she also clocked a new Games record.

At the Birmingham Commonwealth Games held from late July to early August, the contingent of 66 athletes in nine sports were led by chef de mission Lim Heem Wei.

They returned with four gold, four silver and four bronze medals as well as eight national records and 16 personal best outings.

“Fifty athletes made their Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham, while Games veteran Feng Tianwei earned the most bemedaled table tennis athlete accolade with her achievements of 13 medals at four editions,” said SNOC.

Feng also received the David Dixon award, which is presented to the most outstanding athlete at the Games.

She was the first Singaporean and first table tennis athlete to win the award.

The MAP rewards medallists of the SEA, Commonwealth, Asian and Olympic Games. Under the programme which is sponsored by the Tote Board, medallists receive cash based on the major Games event and medal won.

For a SEA Games gold, an individual athlete will be rewarded S10,000. A gold is worth S$15,000 in a team event, and S$30,000 in a team sport .

On the other hand, a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games is worth S$40,000 in an individual event, S$60,000 in a team event and S$80,000 in a team sport.

SNOC said it is mandatory for athletes to give a portion of their MAP awards - 20 per cent for the SEA Games and 50 per cent for the Commonwealth Games - to their respective National Sports Associations for the purposes of training and development.

"REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COUNTRY"

During the MAP awards on Wednesday, which was last held in 2018, SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin said that while sport events were halted due to the pandemic, this did not “dampen the will of our sporting community”.

“Singapore’s gritty performances at the Hanoi SEA Games and Birmingham Commonwealth Games are testament to the strength of Singapore,” said Mr Tan, who is Speaker of Parliament.

“In seven years’ time, Singapore will host its fourth SEA Games in 2029. I’m certain we will work hard to put on our best showing in front of the home crowd,” he added.

In his speech, Mr Tan said that athletes have to fulfil the criteria set by the SNOC and respective National Sports Associations before they can compete at the Games.

Once selected, they will have to commit to a team membership agreement which includes a stipulated code of conduct.

“As representatives of the country, we all have a part to play while we are at the Games. Our actions and behaviour do not merely have an impact on us, but also on the larger community,” said Mr Tan.

“Let’s continue to stick to the goals, focus on your performance, look after your team-mates and be as exemplary as you can,” he added.

Source: CNA/ng(gr)

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