This report was published in yesterday’s edition of The Sunday Times. It is a follow-up to a story earlier in the week about embattled and beleaguered Singapore Athletic Association president Loh Lin Kok asking his good friend, renowned lawyer Subhas Anandan to consider running for the presidency of the SAA in the elections in June.
Subhas is no stranger to the world of sports administration as he is the president of Cuesports Singapore. In his four years at the helm, he has slashed the $700,000 that CS owes to its creditors to $100,000. Singapore has also won several SEA and Asian Games medlas in snooker and billiard since his arrival at the helm.
‘I won’t run against Loh, but I’m not his puppet either’
(The Sunday Times, 25 April 2010)
Subhas Anandan will not throw his hat into the ring if incumbent Loh Lin Kok decides to stand for the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) presidency again.
‘I think our friendship is much more valuable than the presidency of the SAA,’ said Anandan, the 62-year-old president of Cuesports Singapore.
‘I will not sacrifice my friendship with him even for 10 presidencies. Lin Kok knows I will not stand against him. I think if I stand, he will step aside.’
The pair have known each other since their days at the then-University of Singapore law school in the 1960s.
Oil trader Tang Weng Fei, 56, the SAA chief between 2004 and 2006, has already formed a team to contest the biennial elections, which must be called by June.
Anandan is no stranger to sports administration, having held the reins of Cuesports Singapore since 2006.
Back then, the association was saddled with debts of about $700,000. It now owes about $100,000.
Under his tenure, the Republic’s snooker, pool and billiards players won two golds, three silvers and four bronze medals at the 2007 and 2009 South-east Asia Games.
If he wins the SAA election, the criminal lawyer wants to remove the ill-feeling that has built up between the SAA and Singapore Sports Council (SSC) in recent months and ‘start the reconciliation process’.
Anandan added: ‘The SSC knows I will not be a proxy for him (Loh). I am not that type of fellow who gives people the opportunity to say I’m a puppet.
‘If I do things, I’ll do it my way.’
You have to hand it to crafty old Loh Lin Kok. He’s clearly been hard at work thinking of ways to ensure that the Tang Weng Fei-led team does not win this June’s elections.
And asking Subhas to come on board is a brilliant move since the veteran lawyer has proven his mettle at sports administration with his leadership at Cuesports Singapore.
There is, I hear, another reason why Loh is looking for someone to run in the elections. The fiercely loyal leader that he is, I hear that he is wracked with fear that the successful election of Tang and crew would mean the sacking of all his paid staff at the SAA.
I guess to lose office is one thing, but to cause the loss of other people’s ricebowls as result of the loss of office is another altogether. (Whether or not these people are actually competent in the first place is another matter altogether, I guess)
What’s my take on all this?
Well, I am all for a electoral battle come June because I firmly believe that it is always good to have a contest.
But I am wondering who will make up Subhas’ team if he does throw his hat into the ring. As Tang indicated in today’s edition of The New Paper, we don’t know who will make up the rest of his team.
So my reading of the situation is this (and I would advise that you take this with a pinch of salt):
It sounds like a case of Loh asking Subhas to stand for the presidency IN HIS PLACE, and with HIS TEAM.
In other words, it does sound as though Loh has finally decided that since he is the person causing the most antagonism to the Singapore Sports Council, the best way to solve this situation is to bequeath his team to Subhas, and take himself out of the running.
Of course, if the make-up of the current SAA leadership is still offensive to the sporting powers, then Loh can always recommend a few names to Subhas, or Subhas can always choose a couple of his own trusted lieutenants, to show that the team is not entirely made up of Loh’s loyal officers.
Maybe then the SAA affiliates, especially those who are sitting on the fence with regards to their vote — as in keen to vote for Loh but fearful of reprisals from the sporting powers — can then be emboldened to vote for Subhas, and tilt the voting numbers towards Loh’s team (oops, I meant Subhas’ team, actually).
After all, they can always explain their choice by saying that Subhas’ team now presents the best of both worlds: a new credible leader, and a management team with experience in running athletics.
What will then happen to Loh if Subhas’ team does win the election?
Well, I am sure that he will lie low for several months.
Then down the road, he will be invited to come back as a special adviser to the SAA, given his many years of experience and international clout, and to help Subhas, whose own schedule must be pretty packed as it is, giving him not as much time to spend on athletics as he would like.
And then the athletics scene will come full circle once again.
Dear readers, what are your thoughts on this?
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan