THE Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) has been hit by the departure of Asmah Hanim, its high performance chief, with less than five months to go before the Singapore SEA Games.
Asmah, who started work on April 21 last year, tendered her resignation earlier this week, less than nine months into her tenure. The ex-national sprinter said she resigned due to "personal reasons", but declined to elaborate.
The 30-year-old told The Straits Times: "I have been in discussions with SAA officials since December, so this is not a sudden decision.
"I'm leaving on good terms.
"It has been a very enriching experience, and I must say I have a more holistic understanding of track and field now, after looking at the sport as an administrator and participant. "
Her departure comes just a week after the SAA named a 130-strong training squad for the SEA Games.
However, SAA president Tang Weng Fei is confident Asmah's departure will not affect preparations for the biennial meet, where he has set a target of at least three gold medals from Singapore's track and field athletes.
Said Tang: "We are pleased with the progress (of the SEA Games preparations) so far, and SAA will continue to ensure adequate support is given to athletes as we enter the final phase of our preparations.
"We would like to thank Asmah for her services, and wish her well in her future endeavours."
As the national sport association's chief (sports development and performance), Asmah's role included enhancing the development and high performance support for athletes and coaches.
She was actively involved in the search and subsequent appointment of Portuguese Luis Cunha as the new national head coach (sprints and hurdles).
A graduate from the University of Sydney with a Masters in Exercise and Sports Science, Asmah was also the athletics team manager at last year's Nanjing Youth Olympic Games and Incheon Asian Games.
She will be extending her one month's notice period till Mar 31 to finish some existing projects she is working on, including training camps and overseas trips for the athletes.
National hurdler Dipna Lim-Prasad was surprised by Asmah's resignation.
"Asmah did a good job helping the athletes, and was someone we could go to whenever we needed help with regard to training plans or qualification criteria for major games," she said. "I'm sure she will do a proper handover to ensure a smooth transition."
This article was first published on Jan 15, 2015.
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