Former runner to contest SAA election

Former runner to contest SAA election
Steven Lee, vice chairman of S-League club Liaoning Guangyuan at Toa Payoh Food Centre.

The Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) office-bearers are expected to face opposition in their bid for re-election, for the first time in four years.

The current SAA management - unopposed at the 2012 elections - will face a contest at the biennial elections scheduled for June 23.

A new team, believed to be led by former national runner Sng Sze Hiang, who owns electronic and appliances company Akira, is expected to make a formal announcement early next week.

Sng's team will include two of SAA president Tang Weng Fei's three vice-presidents, Loh Chan Pew and Steven Lee.

This comes after relations between Tang and his two VPs soured in the past three months.

In February, the SSA suspended the duo over acts it deemed had undermined the authority of the executive committee. They were, however, reinstated to their positions last month after an independent appeals panel overturned the decision.

The challengers arebolstered by the return of track and field veteran Ho Mun Cheong, Tang's former vice-president who resigned in 2011.

Losing his former stalwarts will be a blow to Tang. In the 2010 elections, both Ho and Loh were an integral part of Tang's team, who ended the long reign of former president Loh Lin Kok.

It remains to be seen if a change of power at this crucial time for Singapore sports - a year away from the all-important 2015 SEA Games which the nation will host - will be beneficial to local athletics.

After an eight-medal haul (two golds, three silvers and three bronzes) at last year's SEA Games in Myanmar, Tang has targeted six gold medals next year.

Under his reign, some athletes have flourished - notably Dipna Lim, 24, and Shanti Pereira, 17 - while others have fallen out with the SAA.

In the past year, two of Singapore's top local-born throwers, Scott Wong and Wan Lay Chi, have quit the sport after apparent lack of support from the national body.

In addition,pole vaulter Rachel Yang and long jumper Stefan Tseng have taken to social media to voice their displeasure at the management.

Tang has threatened legal action against Yang for defamation and is requesting that the athlete withdraw all comments and publish an apology.

Meanwhile, Tang said that he will be meeting members of the media in about a week's time to share his plans for the upcoming electoral fight.

ugenec@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 28, 2014.
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