Wada benchmark taken into account in suspension of Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei, says SportSG
National agency Sport Singapore on Friday said it had taken into account the benchmarks of international sporting bodies, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), when meting out disciplinary actions against swimmers Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei, who had admitted to consuming illicit drugs.
On Sept 28, SportSG suspended support for the three athletes for a month from Oct 1, after also considering the trio's breach of their athlete agreement with the national agency and Singapore's stance towards drug abuse.
On Aug 30, Schooling and Lim were revealed to have had consumed cannabis overseas. On Sept 28, it was revealed that Commonwealth Games silver medallist Teong also admitted to consuming a controlled drug overseas.
The trio were investigated by the Central Narcotics Bureau for drug-related offences but all their urine tests came up negative. SportSG then conducted an internal review before meting out the suspensions.
SportSG said it took into account the fact that Wada does not impose any sanctions for the ingestion or use of some controlled drugs - including cannabis - if the act took place outside of competition periods.
If an athlete tests positive for these drugs in-competition but can show these have no relation to their performance, they face a one- to three-month suspension.
A suspension of up to four years will be in place under any other circumstance.
"SportSG's decision considered that the athletes' urine tests returned negative, and the athletes had on their own admitted to consuming cannabis outside of competition in the past," it added.
Its Friday statement comes following mixed reactions to the actions taken against the trio, but it did not explain why information on Teong was released only a month later.
The trio, who are carded under the High Performance Scheme, will not receive training assistance grants and access to sports science and sports medicine facilities and services during this one-month suspension. Teong, who is a SpexScholar, will have his scholarship benefits withdrawn during this period.
They will also not be able to train at the OCBC Aquatic Centre or have access to any facilities, benefits or services accorded to high-performance athletes, added the Singapore Swimming Association.
The SportSG statement added: "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.
"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."