Joseph Schooling caught for cannabis consumption together with swimmer Amanda Lim

·3 min read
Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling takes a breath of air in mid-swim.
Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling. (PHOTO: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singapore's only Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling and fellow national swimmer Amanda Lim have been investigated by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) for possible offences related to the consumption of cannabis during the SEA Games in May.

Sport Singapore (SportSG) said in a media statement on Tuesday (30 August) that at the conclusion of these investigations, Schooling has been referred to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces to assess and take the appropriate measures, given that he is currently undergoing National Service.

Lim has been issued a stern warning by CNB under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

SportSG said it intends to thoroughly review the circumstances behind these cases, and determine the appropriate steps to be taken thereafter. The Singapore Swimming Association and Singapore National Olympic Council will also be reviewing the appropriate actions on their part.

"Lim and Schooling are presently national carded athletes, and receive support from SportSG in that capacity. All TeamSG athletes are expected to uphold the highest standards of conduct as representatives of Singapore on the sporting world stage, at all times. Unlawful or unsportsmanlike conduct will not be condoned," it added.

No more disruptions for training or competition for Schooling: MINDEF

MINDEF also released a media statement on Tuesday, saying, "Urine tests for controlled drugs conducted on Private (PTE) Joseph Schooling returned negative. However, PTE Schooling confessed to have consumed cannabis overseas in May 2022, when he was on short term disruption from full-time national service (NS) to train and participate in the Southeast Asian Games.

"Following existing protocol, PTE Schooling will be placed on a supervised urine test regime for six months. All SAF personnel who test positive during this regime will be charged and sentenced accordingly.

"Given his abuse of disruption privileges, PTE Schooling will no longer be eligible for leave or disruption to train or compete while in NS. A formal letter of warning has also been issued to PTE Schooling, informing him of the serious consequences of drug abuse meted out to all SAF personnel, who may be sentenced up to nine months detention in the SAF Detention Barracks.”

Schooling apologises in statement

In a statement released on Tuesday night, Schooling said, "I am sorry that my actions have caused hurt to everyone around me, especially to my family and the young fans who look up to me. I gave in to a moment of weakness after going through a very tough period of my life.

"I demonstrated bad judgment and I am sorry. I made a mistake and I’m responsible for what I’ve done. I will make amends and right what is wrong. I won’t let you down again."

Schooling won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the men's 100m butterfly race, memorably defeating his idol Michael Phelps in the final. It is Singapore's first and only gold medal at the Summer Games.

However, he did not have a successful outing at the next Olympics in Tokyo last year, as he could not make it out of the heats of his pet event.

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