Three swimmers broke the rule of not seeking permission to leave Games Village, says SNOC
Some have brushed it off as an act of letting out steam, while others have called for action to be taken against athletes they feel have tarnished the image of national athletes at an international event.
Yesterday, it was revealed that three swimmers, Joseph Schooling, Roanne Ho and Teo Zhen Ren, who returned to the Games Village after a night out allegedly intoxicated, have officially only broken one rule - they did not inform or obtain permission from the chef de mission (CDM) to leave the village.
"I don't think the code of conduct says (specifically) no drinking. We are more concerned about where (the athletes are)," said Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) secretary-general Chris Chan, who was more concerned about the safety of athletes at an overseas Games.
NO LAWS BROKEN
The trio, whose competition ended a day before their alleged indiscretions on Sept 27, did not break any laws either as the legal drinking age in South Korea is 19.
Schooling, at 19, is the youngest of the trio. Ho is 21 years old and Teo is 20.
While he mulled over the definition of being drunk, Chan, who was speaking at chef de mission Jessie Phua's Asian Games round-up press conference, made it clear that athletes are not bound by the perimeters of the village.
"We never said that (athletes) cannot go out," said Chan.
"We said they will need to clear it with the CDM, who even allowed the football team to go out after they lost their first match, as they wanted to forget about that match."
The Republic's men's football team fell 1-0 to Tajikistan in their Group C opener despite fashioning enough chances to win the game.
Heading into town (TNP report, Sept 16), skipper Hassan Sunny and teammates shopped, had a meal and just milled about to clear their heads.
They went on to draw 3-3 with Oman and beat Palestine 2-1.
But Chan emphasised the importance of athletes reporting their whereabouts, something that could have organisational, safety, and even sporting implications.
Chan said that safety is of the highest priority, using an example at a previous Games to illustrate his point.
He revealed that a member of the Singapore contingent at the 2007 Korat South-east Asia Games went out alone and was eventually found with what was said to be needle marks on his body, after he was believed to have been drugged.
Singapore is one of six countries who have registered their sportsmen under the Olympic Council of Asia's Athlete Whereabouts requirement as part of its doping control guide.
And reporting of athletes' exact locations at all times is key.
"We need to know where athletes are because if the doping team turn up and (the athletes) are not there, that's a doping violation," said Chan.
The SNOC also has in place contingency plans if incidents are to occur when athletes are overseas, requiring an evacuation of Singaporeans.
"We have certain rules about how (they) move about... and at the Games we need to know that athletes are where they are reported to be," he said.
Phua had said earlier that investigations will be conducted after the Asiad, which ended yesterday.