Goodbye, Mr Swimming

Goodbye, Mr Swimming

He was a permanent fixture at Games - be it the South-east Asia (SEA) Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games or the Olympics - for almost half a century.

He was called "Mr Swimming" for he has officiated in world aquatics as a referee, technical delegate and member of appeals commission, be it in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Seoul, Sydney or Beijing.

He was a longstanding secretary of the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA), a tenure of almost 25 years that propelled him to be a useful adviser to the association's executive committee.

Best of all, I would like to remember Woon Sui Kut, who died on Saturday, aged 83, as a reporter's friend, a journalist's dream.

For the walking encyclopaedia of swimming would rattle off times and statistics so easily that reporters of old need not be armed with notepads and reams of paper.

This SEA Games in Myanmar turned out to be the last assignment (as a technical delegate) for the former educationist because, on his return after the swimming events, he suffered a fall at his East Coast home and could not recover from the mishap.

A minute of silence was observed in his honour at Saturday's diving events in Naypyidaw.

Jeffrey Leow, the SSA president, who visited him on Friday at Changi General Hospital, said Saturday: "He was in coma. He passed away this afternoon at 4.34pm."

Added Leow: "He continued to serve in my committee because we recognise his vast experience. He was so heavily involved in the organising of the swimming events in Myanmar.

"Without his input, I don't know if the swimming events would have run so smoothly."

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