Tag Archives: Singapore Athletic Association

National record-breaker Lynette’s preference to focus on her studies is wise

Lynette Lim has done it again.

After setting a new national record of 11.79m in the triple jump at last year’s National Schools Track and Field Championships, the Victoria Junior College student repeated her achievement when she leapt 11.89m in the Girls A Div final at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Thursday.

The Straits Times reported on Friday that Lynette’s effort meant that she set seven records at the same time with her sixth and final attempt in the sand pit. Apart from the National Open and A Div records, her effort also rewrote the Schools National mark as well as the National Junior, National U-19, National U-17 and Youth Best Performance records. That’s a really nice long feather to put on ones cap.

I thought however, that TODAY’s report (see below) had an interesting take on the situation – which was that Lynette is not interested in becoming a full-time athlete in future, and prefers to focus on her studies even though she is the best in the discipline in Singapore.

Her parents feel the same, and it is easy to see why – her leap, despite being a national record, is about 3 metres away from being among the best in South-east Asia, and 3m is quite a gulf to conquer in a discipline like the triple jump.

In other words, local standards in some athletics disciplines are still a long way from even South-east Asian standards.

So is it worth turning full-time just to try to overcome such a huge gap, with the chances of success considered slim, at best?

But it will be good if Lynette is able to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games at the Asian qualifying trials in Bangkok in May. Young athletes should always aspire to achieve feats that they have the potential to realise. And if she does qualify, then maybe at the YOG, Lynette and her coach will have an idea of where she really stands among her peers in the region, and, subsequently, be better able to make a more informed decision about her future in the sport.

In the meantime, congratulations to Lynette. And congratulations too to the trio of Joel Koh, Dong Dexin (both Hwa Chong Institution) and Raphael Soh (Raffles Institution) for all going under the Boys A Div 5,000m record on Thursday. Their times of 26min 43.01sec, 27:06.32 and 27:20.98 all went under Karthik Muthu s/o Supramanian’s A Div and Schools National record of 29:04.02 which was set in 2011.

Unfortunately, for Dexin and Rafael, only Joel’s name will appear in the record books. To the winner goes all the spoils, as the saying goes.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Studies come first for Lynette (TODAY Online, April 11, 2014)

By Ian De Cotta

SINGAPORE — For the second straight year, the national women’s triple jump record tumbled at the feet of Lynette Lim, but the achievement was especially sweet for the athlete as it was written at the Singapore National Schools Track and Field Championships yesterday.

In setting the new national standard of 11.89m at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, the Victoria Junior College student re-wrote the record she set last year at the same meet by another 10cm.

Only 16, Lynette’s development as an athlete at this stage seems to hold plenty of promise, but it is a career that could very well end after her A-Levels next year.

It is a prospect her coach John Seem is not looking forward to, as he believes the triple jumper is on track to breach the 12m mark in competition before the end of the year.

Lynette, he added, is focused on furthering her studies and has not given much thought to training full-time or building a career as a sportswoman. She, at least, has the backing of Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) President Tang Weng Fei, who cautioned against pushing young athletes against their will.

“There is too much talk about getting our young athletes to train full time and I am a little uncomfortable with this,” said Tang.

“I met Lynette’s parents on Sunday and they also want her to concentrate on her studies, but I also think she should be given room to enjoy herself first. There is still ample time if she changes her mind later.”

While Tang said Lynette is making good progress that could eventually lead to an elite athlete’s pathway programme, there is still a lot of work to be done before she could be on the same level as sprinter Shanti Pereira, the 17-year-old who finished fourth in the 200m at last December’s SEA Games in Myanmar and is widely regarded as a medal prospect for next year’s edition in Singapore.

But the new women’s triple jump national mark is still the third-lowest in the region, where the 14.17m record set at Naypyidaw is held by Indonesia’s Maria Natalia Londa. It also below the 12.29m bronze medal placing at last year’s SEA Youth Athletics championship in Vietnam, a target Tang said Lynette should aim for.

With the progress the teenager is making, Seem is confident it can be reached next year, although the focus now is to qualify for the August Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.

Said Seem: “Lynette is already doing 12m during training and I think the long jump competition two days ago may have tired her. If she continues making progress, I am sure she’ll do 13m within two years, that is if she is still training. We are now preparing for the Asian Area Qualifying for the Youth Olympics in Bangkok on May 21 and 22. The qualifying mark is 11.7m and only the top two in Asia will get to go.”

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Resignations at SingaporeSailing are part and parcel of leadership changes

The report:

This report appeared in today’s edition of The Straits Times. Similar reports appeared in The New Paper and Today.

Choppy Waters

(The Straits Times, 19 Oct 2010)

Two senior staff members quit sailing federation less than a month before Asian Games

By Lin Xinyi

WITH less than a month to the Asian Games, there are signs that the ride to Guangzhou is not going to be smooth for the Singapore Sailing Federation.

The national sports association yesterday confirmed that two senior staff members – executive director Edwin Low and head of high performance Mark Robinson – had tendered their resignation on Sept 24 and Oct 12, respectively.

However, they are expected to remain in their posts until after the Games in Guangzhou, where sailing is expected to deliver at least two gold medals.

Both men downplayed the significance of their departure and signalled a desire to move on.

According to a source, at least two more full-time staff members and a national coach are poised to leave – a claim denied by the association.

Parting will be hard for 54-year-old Low, who is also the secretary general.

He has been with SingaporeSailing since 2000, and was one of the pioneer staff at the National Sailing Centre.

‘After 10 years, it was definitely a tough decision to leave,’ he said. ‘I’ve had a good time. I suppose with a new management in place, it was a good time to step out before I got too deep in the system.’

Robinson, 36, joined as a technical manager in 2003. When asked if his decision to resign had anything to do with Low’s earlier resignation, Robinson said it was not a factor.

‘It’s just part of an ongoing evolution,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure it’s a dramatic event. I don’t think it’ll have any effect on the Asian Games.’

SingaporeSailing deputy president Dr Loh Kok Hua said that preparations for next month’s Guangzhou Games would not be disrupted.

‘This is a tremendous loss because of their sterling service to SingaporeSailing,’ said Dr Loh, who also chairs the search committee for suitable successors.

‘The most important thing now is to make sure that preparations continue and our sailors are well prepared.’

He expects the transition period to take up to six months but insisted that strategic plans will be carried out.

Low himself had taken over his current post from his predecessor Andrew Sanders in February.

In June, Dr Ben Tan took over the helm from outgoing president Low Teo Ping, who served for 12 years.

Dr Tan could not be reached for comment.

Teo Ping said he was numbed by the news but was quick to pay tribute to the two stalwarts.

Singapore’s chef de mission for the Asian Games said: ‘Knowing that Edwin and Mark are going to play pivotal roles in supporting the sailors, and hearing that they will leave only after the Asian Games, I’m relieved.’

With the Games beckoning, both Low and Robinson are eager to bow out on a high when they leave in April and January respectively.

 Said Low: ‘We’ve been working on the Asian Games project since 2006. We want to see this through and end on a good note.’

My thoughts:

To be honest,  I felt that the reports on Low and Robinson’s resinations in all the three main English papers ie The Straits Times, The New Paper and Today sounded a little alarmist.

Let’s give these two men a little more credit, hey? Yes, they have tendered their resignations, and yes, it is a pity to see them go, particularly Low who is a good bloke and whose ‘uncle-ly’ presence, I am sure, will be missed by the sailors.

But Robinson and Low  are only leaving in January and April, which means they will be around to see the Asian Games through before preparing the handing over process. So for the above report to say that “the ride to Guangzhou is not going to be smooth” is a bit of an extreme view.

Am I shocked by the resignations? Well, I was surprised when I read the reports today but then again, resignations are a common occurence in organisations whenever new leadership takes over at the helm.

For example, six top executives in the Singapore Sports Council subsequently resigned over a period of time after Oon Jin Teik took over as its chief executive in 2004. And now that Oon is leaving to join water management systems company Hyflux next year, it will be normal to expect some of his lieutenants to be quitting soon after his successor takes over.

Likewise, the senior management staff at the Singapore Athletics Association also stepped down soon after Loh Lin Kok announced that he would not be running for the presidency again.

As such, I felt it was a crude and cheap shot for a source to tell The New Paper that the resignations are not as amicable as they seem, that “there is discontent with the new management, wheher it’s because of their modus operandi or something else , I don’t know.”

What the resignations do suggest, however, is that former Singapore Sailing president Low Teo Ping and his successor Ben Tan probably have different leadership styles and that both men have different plans for the sport. And now Tan needs to find his own people to carry out his vision for the future of the sport.

Let’s see whether Tan’s own men can deliver the goods for Singapore sailing. Only after a period of time, when they have settled in, can we then be in a position to say whether the ride ahead for the sport is looking rough or smooth.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Going from special advisor to potential presidential candidate

The report:

This report appeared in today’s edition of The Straits Times:

Possible SAA rivals still working together

(The Strais Times, 4 June 2010)

DESPITE being thrust into the roles of possible adversaries for the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) presidency, Tang Weng Fei and Low Teo Ping both insist that cooperation between them remains paramount.

This, after a three-hour meeting yesterday between the pair which Low described as ‘amicable’, while Tang maintained that they were ‘still working closely together as a team’.

Both men are the only candidates that remain linked with athletics’ top post, following news that incumbent Loh Lin Kok (who has held the post for much of the last three decades) and Cuesports Singapore president Subhas Anandan have dropped out of the running.

Oil trader Tang, 56, the SAA chief from 2004 to 2006, had announced his candidacy in February. In the 22-page booklet handed out to the media to introduce his team, Low, 65, was listed as his adviser.

 ‘He is still my adviser,’ declared Tang, who returned from China yesterday. ‘He is an authority on sports management and I feel it is important to tap his experience.’ 

He refused to elaborate on the nature of their conversation, however, choosing his words carefully.

‘We were discussing how to take athletics forward. There are a lot of major events this year and we have to start planning and focusing our resources now.’

Meanwhile, Low, the outgoing SingaporeSailing president who is also president of the Singapore Rugby Union, declined to comment on his next move.

Said the retired banker, who is also a vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council and the International Sailing Federation: ‘Any talk right now would be premature.’

Time, however, is running out with the SAA’s annual general meeting scheduled for June 25. Those who wish to contest any of the 13 posts up for grabs – including three vice-presidents, the honorary secretary and honorary treasurer – must express interest at least seven days before the AGM.

JONATHAN WONG

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My thoughts:

I’ve been wondering – what would make Low Teo Ping, originally brought in as an advisor to the team that Tang Weng Fei is fielding for the June 25 SAA elections, suddenly entertain, and be highly receptive to, the idea of running for the presidency himself.

Why would a man who is already so highly involved with the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore National Olympic Council  and who is also the current president of the Singapore Rugby Union, want to take on yet another hat (and arguably the hardest hat to wear in Singapore sport): the presidency of Singapore athletics?

And then it struck me:

Given all the success he has tasted in Singapore sailing, and given the type of go-getting character that he is, it surelystands to reason that Low is thirsting for more opportunities for sports leadership, to see what else he can do and which sport he can make a success of after stepping down from the presidency of Singapore Sailing

And so I reckon that when someone planted the idea of running for the Singapore Athletic Association presidency, that go-getting part of him must have thought “Hey, why not?”

After all, let’s be frank: there’s seriously glory to be obtained in being someone else’s special advisor, not when you are one who is so used to rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in the dirt yourself.

And a job like the SAA presidency must seem like a truly exciting challenge to Low, given the state that it is currently languishing in.

But this in turn begs the question: what about rugby? He is after all the president of the SRU.

Why not get stuck into rugby and devote all your attention to a sport that you are currently helming?

Well, let’s face it – what future is there really in Singapore rugby?

Truly, how far can Singapore rugby truly go? Not that far – and that’s only in Asia.

Its brief stint in the Asian Five Nations last year saw them being thumped by all the other teams and relegated back to Division One. This year, the team fell to Sri Lanka in the Division One final and missed out on promotion.

The bottom line: Singapore rugby’s scope for development is limited. It cannot compete beyond a certain level, unless it is infused with a steady stream of foreign talent (for their skills as well as their size), and honestly, where is the fun in that?

On the other hand, Singapore athletics is so rock bottom now that the only way left to go is up. In other words, it is  replete with so many ample opportunities for Loh’s successor to turn the sport around.

And it’s clear that the Singapore sporting authorities are waiting to bless the new successor with the funds and all other forms of support needed to help turn the Republic’s athletes into South-east Asian champions at the very least (and probably even more funds and support if the winning candidate is one that it prefers).

I suspect that Low did his math and figured that the opportunity to helm the turnaround of  Singapore athletics is a once-in-a-lifetime moment that has to be seized right here and now.  

The only obstacle left in his path is finding a team to lead to the elections. And that is probably why Singapore athletics is now in this weird situation.

But hey, better this weird situation than the current status quo, no? 

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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