Schooling, a swimmer, admitted on Tuesday to using drugs in May during a time he was competing at the Southeast Asian Games, where he won two gold medals and a bronze.
“I made a mistake and I am responsible for what I did. I exercised poor judgment and I’m sorry,” Schooling, 27, said in a personal statement seen by CNN.
“I’m sorry that my actions hurt everyone around me, especially my family and the young fans who look up to me,” he added. “I won’t let you down again.”
It is unclear what prompted the confession from Schooling, who was competing while on National Service Leave in the Singapore Army. It is also unclear the extent of any penalty he faces, although the Singapore government has said he will no longer be allowed to leave military service to train or compete.
The schooling’s military service, which began in January, is expected to last until 2024, meaning he is unlikely to be able to compete in the World Aquatics Championships, Asian Games or Asian Games. Southeast next year.
Further censorship is possible, with the sport’s governing bodies Sport Singapore and the Singapore Swimming Association saying they will ‘review the facts of the case and determine the appropriate action to be taken’.
The Southeast Asian Games did not immediately respond when asked if the Schooling results in May would stand.
Singapore’s Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday it had issued an official warning letter to Schooling and described the military’s “strict zero-tolerance policy towards drug abuse”.
“Those who are suspected or have admitted to drug abuse will undergo supervised urine testing as part of the treatment and rehabilitation process,” the ministry said. “All (army) personnel who test positive during this regime will be charged and sentenced accordingly.”
However, the Central Narcotics Bureau, Singapore’s main drug enforcement agency, said on Tuesday that Schooling’s urine tests for controlled drugs “came back negative”.
In his statement on Tuesday, Schooling called his actions “a moment of weakness” and said he had been through “a very difficult time in his life.”
Her 73-year-old father, Colin Schooling, died last November after a battle with cancer and Schooling has previously spoken of the pressure of being in the public spotlight.
He first rose to fame in 2016 at the age of 22 at the Rio Summer Olympics when he beat his childhood hero, American swimming legend Michael Phelps, in the 100 meter butterfly for become his country’s first Olympic champion. However, he faced intense criticism at home after failing to retain his title in Tokyo last year.