This report appeared on the online edition of The Straits Times a couple of hours ago.
Tang joins SAA fray
(The Straits Times, 24 Feb 2010)
By Terrence Voon
FORMER Singapore Athletic Association president Tang Weng Fei has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the top job in local athletics.
Mr Tang, an oil trader who led the association between 2004 and 2006, is now set to take on incumbent Loh Lin Kok in June’s elections.
On Wednesday, he unveiled a 13-member team comprising well-known names in the track and field fraternity as well as top sports administrators and business leaders.
Among the heavyweights backing his bid: Nine-time SEA Games gold-medallist James Wong, Singapore’s sailing and rugby chief Low Teo Ping, and Maurice Nicholas, the secretary-general of the Asian Athletics Association.
Former national and Olympic sprinter C. Kunalan as well as ex-national coaches Melvin Tan and Loh Chan Pew are also in Mr Tang’s corner.
So, oil trader and former Singapore Athletic Association president (2004-06) Tang Weng Fei has decided to run for the SAA presidency.
While his entry is a positive sign that there are people willing to step forward to do their bit for Singapore athletics, it is quite possibly to the dismay of the sporting authorities.
For his entry also means that the fight for the presidency will now be a three-way fight with Cheah Kim Teck in one corner and incumbent Loh Lin Kok in the other.
The fear is now that Tang and Cheah will split between them the votes of SAA affiliates who have been ‘persuaded’ by the sporting authorities not to cast their votes for Loh.
From what my sources tell me, at last count, there are 10 affiliates who will be voting for the ‘opposition’ at the coming SAA elections in June. Even if there are more by June, it is of no use to the campaign to unseat Loh if their votes are split between Tang and Cheah.
Small wonder then that Loh gleefully said “I know my mathematics” when asked recently in a newspaper interview about his thoughts about the election and the pending arrival of Tang as a new challenger.
My sources also tell me that Tang and Cheah were unable to agree to a partnership and co-run against Loh.
So we could have a nightmare situation here: there may be people willing to step forward, but the incumbent will survive the hustings and Singapore athletics will remain mired in appalling mediocrity for the next two years.
Having said that, Tang has assembled quite a strong team. It includes Melvin Tan, Loh Chan Pew, Low Teo Ping and James Wong. And his trump card could well be Maurice Nicholas, a former long-time servant of the SAA, who could have some clout among the pro-Loh affiliates, and help to turn them to Tang’s side.
But the pessimist in me says that we will continue to see Loh in charge after June. Sigh…
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan