Decision on national swimmers based on global sporting benchmarks, Singapore's stance on drug use: SportSG
SINGAPORE: Sport Singapore (SportSG) on Friday (Oct 7) said that the disciplinary action it took against national swimmers Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei was based on international sporting benchmarks, Singapore's stance towards drug use and agreements signed between the trio and SportSG.
On Sep 28, SportSG said that it would suspend all support for them for a month after they confessed to consuming controlled drugs overseas.
"There has been some public discussion regarding the disciplinary actions SportSG has taken against the three athletes – Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei," it said in a statement.
"SportSG's decision to suspend support for the athletes for a period of one month was made after an internal review, taking into account the athletes' breach of the terms of the agreement signed between the athletes and SportSG, international sporting benchmarks and Singapore's stance towards drug abuse."
These benchmarks included those of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and national federations.
"In particular, WADA does not impose any sanctions for the ingestion or use of the following controlled drugs - cannabis, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy - if it is ingested/used outside of the competition period," SportSG said.
"If the athlete tests positive for these drugs in-competition but can show that they have no relation to their competition performance, the athlete would face a one- to three-month suspension.
"A one-month suspension would apply if the athlete completes a drug rehabilitation programme."
SportSG's decision on the swimmers took into consideration that their urine tests returned negative results, and that they had, on their own, admitted to consuming cannabis outside of competition in the past.
With regard to Singapore's stance on drug use, SportSG said that the country adopts a zero-tolerance stance towards drugs and takes a tough stand against drug trafficking and those involved in the drug trade.
However, it noted that the focus for drug abusers is on helping them with rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
"In deciding on the actions, SportSG took a position consistent with Singapore's stance towards drug abusers, which is to help them rehabilitate, and give the three athletes the chance to make amends," it said.
"SportSG maintains that the athletes must be held accountable for their lapses of judgment, while also giving the athletes a second chance to prove themselves and fulfil their roles and responsibilities as national athletes.
"SportSG will continue to support all three athletes after the period of suspension, in both their sporting endeavours as well as their continued rehabilitation from this episode."
The swimmers' suspensions began on Oct 1.