Drug use certainly doesn’t pay off – or pay, in this case – when you are from Singapore.
Last night, celebrations were held to honor the 68 athletes who recently bagged awards at the Hanoi 2021 SEA Games and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The 68 athletes were also awarded up to S$860,000 for their achievements in the sporting events.
Two notable winners from those games were not present though: Joseph Schooling and Amanda Lim. On top of that, their prize money was also put on hold, according to a report by The Straits Times.
The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) runs the MAP Awards, a Major Games Award Programme that gives out cash rewards for major sporting events like the Olympic, Asian, Commonwealth, and SEA Games.
Schooling had won two golds and a bronze while Lim brought home a gold and silver medal. They would’ve received S$13,750 and S$3,750 respectively from the programme.
Both swimmers were caught up in an episode earlier this month after Schooling admitted to taking cannabis while in Hanoi, although he did not test positive on his drug test. Lim also confessed to using cannabis overseas.
Schooling said he regretted his actions and promised to make amends. Schooling also has had his privileges to train or compete while still in NS revoked.
President of SNOC Tan Chuan-Jin gave a speech at the event and while he did not point out the incident directly, said that as athletes, they will have to “commit to a team membership agreement which includes a stipulated code of conduct”. Yup, we got the hint.
Comments on a photo post on Facebook of the celebrations mostly expressed disapproval of SNOC’s decision.
But given Singapore’s strong stance on drug use, can we really be surprised by this move?