This report came out in last Wednesday’s edition of TODAY (18 February 2009):
Bowling trio banned for consuming alcohol during KL tourney
By Ian de Cotta
THE Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) suspended three youth bowlers for three months each after coaches found out they had been consuming alcohol in a hotel room while competing in the Milo Junior All Stars, which was held in Kuala Lumpur from Dec 19-28 last year.
Steffie Kham and Eugene Low, both19, and Gregory Gan, 17, were having a private celebration in their hotel on Christmas Day.
Kham is a university undergraduate while Low is studying at one of thepolytechnics. Gregory is a junior college student.
According to SBF president Jessie Phua, the trio breached the athlete’s contract they had signed when they were selected for the national youth squad.
Said Phua: “They apparently had permission from their parents to drink, but our coaches found out in the end.
“Our rules are very clear, they were representing Singapore overseas andunder no circumstances do we allow our athletes to drink alcohol when they are competing.
“I hope this will send a message to all our athletes that when they wear the Singapore colours, they are under obligation to be in the best behaviour.”
Phua said the trio were remorseful and accepted the suspensions, which was handed out by a disciplinary committee.
Their suspensions will end in mid-April.
Now that you’ve read the above article, compare this with the Singapore Athletic Association dealt with the underaged drinking controversy that some of its athletes AND coaches were involved in at the South-east Asian Junior Championships last May (The Straits Times, 18 June 2008):
Underaged athletes caught drinking
By Leonard Lim
A STORM is brewing within the athletics fraternity, after some unsavoury events at a regional meet in Phuket last month.
A team official caught several Singapore athletes, most of them under 18 years of age, consuming alcohol at the end of the two-day South-east Asia Junior Championships.
There are also allegations that the Singapore Athletic Association official, youth development coach Alfred Sim, had made no attempt to stop the teenagers when he discovered them drinking in their hotel room during a spot-check on May 23.
Instead, the 27-year-old apparently joined his charges in playing card games into the wee hours of the morning after the meet. Earlier that night, he had also allegedly brought a few of the young athletes out to smoke shisha – a pipe with which flavoured tobacco is puffed.
The SAA is considering referring the matter to the respective athletes’ schools for disciplinary action to be taken.
But some parents are upset by this decision. ’This matter happened when the teenagers were representing the country and not their schools, so we should keep it within the athletics fraternity,’ said one parent, who declined to be named.
‘It was an SAA trip, what has it go to do with the schools?’ Some of the athletes come from prestigious secondary schools and he was concerned that if schools were involved, severe punishments – such as expulsion – could be meted out.
Sim, a former national 4×100metres runner, has denied the accusations and has declined further comment. But that has not stopped a chorus of voices calling for action to be taken against him if the allegations are true.
Said the mother of one athlete: ‘We entrust our kids in these officials’ care when they are overseas because, as parents, we can’t accompany them there.
‘Our hope is that the officials will ensure our children are well taken care of, and not allow – much less join in – such activities. Drinking and smoking will affect our kids’ health and performance, both in school and as athletes.’ …
Looking at how the two national sports bodies have dealt with their respective disciplinary cases, is it any wonder then that the Singapore Bowling Federation has been consistently producing World and Asian champions whereas the Singapore Athletic Association hasn’t won even a gold medal on the track at the SEA Games for the last 25 years?
Which, in turn, raises the question: is it time for a change of management at the SAA?
I certainly think so. Over to you, Singapore Sports Council.
Yours in sport