Warning and suspension for Schooling and Lim after cannabis incident

Warning and suspension for Schooling and Lim after cannabis incident

SINGAPORE – A third Singapore national swimmer – SEA Games men’s 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle champion Teong Tzen Wei – has admitted to using controlled drugs, suspected of being cannabis, while representing Team Singapore in competitions overseas.

The 24-year-old, who also won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in July, received a warning letter from Sport Singapore (SportSG), along with Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling and multiple SEA Games gold medallist Amanda Lim.

In a press release on Wednesday (September 28), the city-state’s sports federation also suspended support for all three swimmers as eligible athletes under its High Performance Scheme for a period of one month from October 1, following the completion of its internal review last week.

This means that the trio will not receive any training allowances or access to sports science and sports medicine facilities and services during the one-month period. Teong, who is also a Spex Scholar, will also have his scholarship cancelled for one month.

“SportSG has determined that the three athletes have not complied with the code of conduct expected of all TeamSG athletes as part of their athlete agreement,” the press release said.

“SportSG takes breaches of the Code of Conduct seriously. Team Singapore athletes are expected to uphold the highest standards of conduct as they represent Singapore on the world stage and are role models for Singaporeans.”

Negative urine tests, but all admitted drug use

The three athletes were investigated by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) for drug-related offenses.

All three swimmers tested negative for urine but admitted to using controlled drugs – suspected to be cannabis – while representing Team Singapore in overseas competitions this year. Lim also received a stern warning from the CNB for possession of drug paraphernalia.

SportSG found that all three athletes cooperated fully throughout the internal review process and readily admitted to the use of controlled drugs.

“They expressed their regret for their misjudgments and asked for a second chance to prove themselves and fulfill their role and responsibilities as national athletes,” the press release said.

“All three athletes have committed to not abusing drugs in the future. They want to make amends by giving back to the sports community and participating in education and other efforts to prevent others from making the same mistake.”

“SportSG will continue to support all three athletes after the suspension, both in their sporting endeavors and in their further rehabilitation following this incident.”

Schooling accepts consequences of his mistake

Schooling subsequently released a media statement saying he had made a mistake and would face the consequences. As he is currently serving his National Service (NS), the Singapore Armed Forces had previously revoked his right to leave or a break from training or competition while he is still serving his National Service.

“It is obviously disappointing to receive the news of the suspension of support. As national athletes, we need comprehensive support to help us on our journey in all aspects of life,” Schooling said in his statement.

“I made a mistake and accept the consequences. I have been training alone for the last five to six weeks in my free time outside of my military service obligations.

“I will continue to do so and thank everyone who has stood by me.”

Meanwhile, the Singapore Swimming Association also issued a statement saying that Schooling, Lim and Teong will not be allowed to train at the National Aquatics Centre during their one-month suspension, nor will they have access to the facilities, benefits or services afforded to high-performance athletes.

SSA President Mark Chay said that while the association has a zero-tolerance stance towards the use of controlled drugs, swimmers should not be excluded from the community because of their mistakes.

“The three swimmers have recognized their mistakes and regret their actions,” he added. “They will have to face the consequences of their actions.”

“More importantly, the association needs to take steps to ensure that we can come together as a swimming community and help our people get back on their feet.”

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