S'pore Athletics chief keen for treasurer role in world body

S'pore Athletics chief keen for treasurer role in world body
Singapore Athletics Association (SAA) president Tang Weng Fei at the Singapore Athletics SEA Games appreciation dinner at Hotel Intercontinental Singapore on 18 June 2015.

Singapore Athletics (SA) president Tang Weng Fei is vying to be only the second Singaporean to sit on the congress of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The 60-year-old oil trader has thrown his hat into the ring to be the IAAF's new treasurer when the body elects its new congress in Beijing on Aug 19.

The only other local who has held a spot in the IAAF congress is athletics' elder statesman Maurice Nicholas, who was a council member from 1981 to 1995.

Former SA chief Loh Lin Kok served as part of the IAAF arbitration panel from 1991, and has been its representative at the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport since 2003.

But Loh's roles are not part of the IAAF congress.

Tang confirmed his bid with The New Paper yesterday.

"I feel I have the qualities to contribute as IAAF treasurer," said the former national hurdler, who owns Seven Seas Oil Trading.

"My background, in SA, with oil companies and (in) entrepreneurship in the last 15 years, puts me in good stead."

Tang said his competitors for the role of treasurer are German Athletics Federation president Clemens Prokop, Spain Athletics Federation president Jose Maria Odriozola and Oceania Athletics Association chief Geoff Gardner.

The IAAF has never had an Asian treasurer, but Tang is not discouraged.


"There has been an economic shift from West to East, so there's no reason I cannot be the first," he said.

Should he garner enough votes from the 214-member federation and be voted in, Tang will serve a four-year term.

Election into the IAAF congress would be seen as another step forward for local sport, he added.

Said Tang: "Singapore is moving towards being a centre for sports...

"More Singaporeans should strive to be part of international sports associations, like how people like (Low) Teo Ping and Jessie (Phua) have done."

Low, 70, previously led Singapore Sailing and served as vice-president of the International Sailing Federation.

He is currently chief of the Singapore Rugby Union and is also vice-president of the Asian Rugby Football Union.

Phua, 60, presides over the Singapore Bowling Federation and was president of the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ), bowling's world governing body, from 2007 to 2011. Athletics icons Sebastian Coe and Sergei Bubka - both IAAF vice-presidents - are the only two candidates in the IAAF presidential election.

Briton Coe, 58, won the gold medal in the 1,500m event at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, setting 11 world records in various middle-distance events.

Ukraine's Bubka, 51, ruled the pole vault event in the 1980s and 1990s and set 35 world records, winning six World Championship titles along the way but only one Olympics crown, in 1988.

They are both challenging to succeed the outgoing Lamine Diack, the former Senegalese long jumper who is stepping down after having served as IAAF president since 1999.

This article was first published on July 10, 2015.
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