SNOC sec-gen calls for tighter measures

SNOC sec-gen calls for tighter measures
(From left) Singapore athletes Joseph Schooling, Teo Zhen Ren and Roanne Ho were believed to have returned to the athletes’ village in Incheon drunk in the early morning on 27 September 2014, after the swimming events ended.

National swimmers Joseph Schooling, Teo Zhen Ren and Roxanne Ho have been issued warning letters for leaving the Asian Games athletes' village in Incheon, South Korea, on Sept 27 without permission.

The trio - who returned to the village allegedly intoxicated after their night out, were taken to task by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) yesterday for infringing the Code of Conduct for athletes and officials at major Games.

The SNOC panel of inquiry, comprising Jeffrey Beh (chairperson), Jessie Phua (Asiad chef de mission), Yip Ren Kai (SNOC Athletes Commission) and Dr Lim Yii Hong (Team Singapore chief medical officer at the Asian Games), also recommended that the SNOC Athletes Commission participates in future team managers' meetings to share their experiences and to reinforce the importance of adhering to the Code of Conduct and other rules and regulations.

"There are many things told to athletes before major games, and some things like the Code of Conduct may have got lost in all that," said SNOC secretary general Chris Chan.

"Having the Athletes Commission involved, speaking to athletes before major games would be better, considering the fact that it would mean having senior athletes sharing their experiences with the junior ones."

Before the Games came to a close in Incheon, Chan had told The New Paper that the safety of the athletes was his biggest bone of contention, with the swimming trio leaving the village without informing officials of their whereabouts.

The SNOC is considering other changes to ensure that this does not happen again.

"It isn't that athletes cannot go out. In certain places, we don't want them to leave because they could be a target, especially if they are in a Singapore track suit," said Chan, who acknowledged the fact that the swimming competition had already come to a close before the trio ventured outside of the village.

"It is for security reasons that we need to know where they are, and we could perhaps tweak the system by implementing something that is used in the army - the book-in/book-out book," added the retired army officer.

Under that system, soldiers are required to record the date and time of their departure from and entry into military camps.

CHAPERONE SYSTEM

Asked if a chaperone system - which is already in place for underaged athletes at major games - should be extended to all athletes when they leave the village - Chan said: "This was done at the Youth Olympic Games to reassure parents of the athletes, and it also included flow-charts of where athletes are at any given time.

"At the end of the day, we don't want athletes to take the Code of Conduct for granted, but we do realise that mischief isn't often on the minds of athletes.

"But this is important because it could be a safety issue."

shamiro@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 30, 2014.
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