SportSG’s Considerations when Deciding on the Disciplinary Actions against the Three Athletes

Singapore , 07 Oct 2022

Media Statement -
SportSG’s Considerations when Deciding on the Disciplinary Actions against the Three Athletes

There has been some public discussion regarding the disciplinary actions SportSG has taken against the three athletes – Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim and Teong Tzen Wei. SportSG’s decision to suspend support for the athletes for a period of one month was made after an internal review, taking into account the athletes’ breach of the terms of the Agreement signed between the athletes and SportSG, international sporting benchmarks, and Singapore’s stance towards drug abuse.

International sporting benchmarks

SportSG took into account the benchmarks of international bodies, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)* and national federations. In particular, WADA does not impose any sanctions for the ingestion or use of the following controlled drugs - cannabis, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy - if it is ingested/used outside of the competition period. If the athlete tests positive for these drugs in-competition but can show that they have no relation to their competition performance, the athlete would face a one- to three-month suspension. A one-month suspension would apply if the athlete completes a drug rehabilitation programme.

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.

Singapore’s approach to rehabilitate drug abusers

Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance stance towards drugs and takes a tough stand against drug trafficking and those involved in the drug trade. For drug abusers, the focus is on helping them rehabilitate and reintegrate into society.

In deciding on the actions, 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.

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*Annex - Period of ineligibility1 for presence, use or attempted use, or possession of a prohibited substance or method, under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code

 

Type of Prohibited Substance or Method Positive In-Competition Test Positive Out-of-Competition Test
Substances and methods prohibited at all times (E.g. anabolic agents, peptide hormones) Up to 4 years Up to 4 years
Substance and methods prohibited in-competition (E.g. stimulants, narcotics, cannabinoids, glucocorticoids) For Substances of Abuse (i.e. cocaine, diamorphine (Heroin) methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA/”ecstasy”), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)2):
  • Ingestion or use occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport performance: 1-3 months
  • Under other circumstances: Up to 4 years
For all other substances: Up to 4 years
These substances and methods are not tested out-of-competition, as WADA does not prohibit their use or ingestion out-of-competition. Some jurisdictions allow the use of these substances, e.g. cannabis.

 

1 The period of ineligibility can be (i) lifted where there was no fault or negligence, (ii) reduced where there was no significant fault or negligence, or (iii) lifted, reduced, or suspended for other reasons, such as substantial assistance in discovering code violations. It can also be lengthened in the instance of repeated violations of anti-doping rules.

 

2 THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis.
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