Team Singapore’s 224-strong contingent at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon have been hit by a disciplinary issue with only five days left in the two-week multi-sport event.
TODAY has learnt that three swimmers – believed to be Joseph Schooling, Roanne Ho and Teo Zhen Ren – had left the Athletes’ Village at Namdong-gu last Friday (Sep 26) without seeking the permission of officials and that they had been drinking before returning to the village early on Saturday morning. The trio were escorted to their apartments by village security upon their return.
Sources told TODAY the swimmers did not appear drunk when they returned to the village. However, their actions at the Games could still land them in hot water.
In response to queries, Team Singapore’s chef-de-mission Jessie Phua said in a statement: “It has been brought to our attention that three athletes returned to the Athletes’ Village in the early hours on Sep 27. We will investigate further after the Games. We have reminded all remaining athletes and officials to be responsible for their actions and to keep the team managers updated of their movements.”
She added: “We are focused on giving our best to support the athletes who are still competing and wish them the very best for the competition.”
Singapore’s 17-strong swim team enjoyed a successful run in Incheon, with Schooling clinching the Republic’s first gold medal in 32 years by a male swimmer at the Asian Games in a new Games record of 51.76sec in the 100m butterfly. He won a silver and bronze in the 50m and 200m fly, respectively, while two-time Asian Games champion Tao Li won a silver and bronze in the women’s 50m and 100m fly.
When contacted, Singapore Swimming Association executive director Edwin Ker declined to comment, saying that all athletes are under the jurisdiction and care of the chef-de-mission and the Singapore National Olympic Council during the Games.
Other countries have also been hit by discipline problems in Incheon, including Japan, which expelled swimmer Naoya Tomita, the men’s 200m breaststroke champion at the 2010 Asian Games, for stealing a camera.