National swimmers Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei were fined for breaching rules in the Singapore National Olympic Council's (SNOC) code of conduct during the SEA Games.
The trio recently admitted to consuming controlled drugs overseas, which prompted SNOC to launch disciplinary proceedings to investigate potential breaches.
They were subsequently investigated by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) for drug-related offences, but their urine tests turned up negative.
Fines for all three
SNOC shared in a statement seen by Mothership that the disciplinary committee has reviewed the relevant evidence, and that all three athletes were fully cooperative throughout the process.
According to SNOC, the trio admitted to "various incidents and conduct which amounted to transgressions of the SNOC code of conduct which formed part of each of the applicable team membership agreements".
Having concluded its investigations, SNOC said on Oct. 31 that Schooling was fined S$10,000.
He was also issued a conditional warning — should he be found by SNOC to have consumed prohibited drugs or breached any rules in the code of conduct in the future, he will be debarred from selection for all major games for two years.
According to the statement, Schooling was found to have breached multiple rules of the code, including those related to the consumption of alcohol, drugs or medication, accountability as well as gambling and smoking.
Lim, who was previously issued a stern warning by the CNB for possessing a drug utensil, was fined S$2,800.
Meanwhile, Teong was fined S$3,200.
The sanctions imposed on Lim and Teong were related to the 2019 SEA Games team membership agreement and code of conduct, while the sanctions imposed on Schooling were related to those of the 2021 SEA Games.
"Not a pleasant task"
SNOC added that imposing sanctions on three of "Singapore’s most outstanding swimmers has not been a pleasant task" for the disciplinary committee.
However, despite their past achievements, SNOC stated that discipline "has to be maintained both in and out of the sporting arena".
The SNOC code of conduct should be upheld and any breaches will be enforced "with firmness laced with the appropriate level of empathy".
SNOC's disciplinary committee revealed that in arriving at its decisions on the sanctions, the disciplinary committee "has tried to balance the objective of deterring athletes from engaging in serious conduct which breaches the code of conduct in future major games, with the need to avoid a sanction that is disproportionate to the breaches committed".
The disciplinary committee concluded by expressing its hopes that the athletes learn from their mistakes and continue to display exemplary conduct as expected of role models:
"The DC hopes that the athletes will each accept and learn from their mistakes, and put their undoubted talent in the pool to better use for Singapore and themselves in the future. While they are each outstanding athletes in their own right, their conduct and behaviour during and after each major games ought to be exemplary too and consistent with their being role models for young and aspiring swimmers and other athletes."
All fines collected by the SNOC for such breaches will be donated to the Singapore Olympic Foundation.
The award monies from the Major Games Awards Programme (MAP), which the athletes earned from winning medals at the 2021 SEA Games and 2022 Commonwealth Games, have also been released to all three athletes.
These were initially withheld from Schooling and Lim, who won S$13,750 and S$3,750 respectively.
Top photo from Amanda Lim's, Joseph Schooling's and Teong Tzen Wei's Instagram pages