Singapore’s first Olympic gold medalist, swimmer Joseph Schooling, has been suspended from competition after admitting to smoking cannabis in Vietnam in May, the BBC reports. Schooling won his gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games.
Singapore’s harsh drug laws ban the consumption of drugs within its territory and prosecutes individuals who take drugs abroad. Citizens or permanent residents who fail urine tests for illegal drugs face up to 10 years in prison and fines as much as S$20,000 ($14,300). The country also has a mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking.
“I demonstrated bad judgement and I am sorry. I gave in to a moment of weakness after going through a very tough period of my life.” — Schooling, in a statement, via the BBC
Singapore’s Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that while Schooling had passed a urine test, he confessed to consuming cannabis while on a break from his military service to train and participate in the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi in May. Cannabis use is also illegal in Vietnam.
The ministry said Schooling would be barred from taking leave or disrupting his military service to train or compete due to the “abuse of disruption privileges.” He will also be put on a supervised urine test for six months and faces up to nine months of detention if he tests positive.
Another Singapore swimmer, Amanda Lim, also admitted to consuming cannabis and was given a warning by the Central Narcotics Bureau following an investigation.
“There is no excuse,” she said in a statement, “and I will take the warning given to me seriously and reflect on my mistakes.”
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