Swimming: Joseph Schooling disappointed with SportSG sanctions but 'accepts the consequences'

Joseph Schooling confessed to using cannabis during the SEA Games in May. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Former Olympic champion Joseph Schooling has expressed disappointment at the sanctions imposed on him by Sport Singapore following his admission that he consumed cannabis but said he accepts the consequences of his actions.

His statement, released by his representatives on Thursday, comes a day after the national sports agency suspended support to him and fellow national swimmers Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei.

The trio, who are under its High Performance Scheme, will not receive training assistance grants or access to sports science and sports medicine facilities and services for a month from Oct 1.

Teong, 24, a Sports Excellence Scholarship recipient, will also have his scholarship benefits withdrawn for the same period.

The trio, whose urine tests for drugs all came up negative, were issued letters of warning for breaching their code of conduct agreements.

The Singapore Swimming Association also said they will also not be able to train alongside other members of the national squad at the OCBC Aquatic Centre or have access to any facilities, benefits or services accorded to high-performance athletes.

In his statement, Schooling, 27, said: "It's disappointing, of course, to receive news of the suspension of support.

"As a national athlete, we need all-rounded support to help navigate us in our journey in all aspects of life.

"I made a mistake and I accept the consequences."

He added that he had been training on his own for the last five to six weeks in his spare time outside of his national service commitments and would continue to do so.

He also thanked "everyone who has stood by me".

On Thursday evening, Lim admitted to The Straits Times that “it has been a difficult time” and that training on her own has been challenging. 

“I’ve reflected deeply on this lesson and the distress I’ve caused, especially to my loved ones,” she added. “I am still a work in progress with much more to learn...  I am still very determined to achieve my goals in the next coming years.”

She too thanked all who had stood by her and vowed: “I will give my all to make Singapore proud again.”

On Aug 30, Schooling and Lim, 29, were revealed to have had consumed cannabis overseas. Teong was revealed as a third swimmer to have consumed controlled drugs on Wednesday.

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Schooling confessed to using cannabis during the SEA Games in May.

As he is undergoing NS, he has been placed on a six-month SAF-supervised urine test regime as part of the treatment and rehabilitation process. He was also issued a formal letter of warning.

The Ministry of Defence also revoked his leave and NS disruption privileges, making it near impossible for him to go overseas to train or compete while in NS.

In his last competitive outing at the Hanoi SEA Games in May, Schooling won two golds and a bronze.

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