Had it not been for what Chua Leong Yan deems the "workings of fate", he may not have fallen in love with rugby nearly five decades ago. The 79-year-old cleaner had no idea what the sport was until he caught a match with his friends at the Padang in 1965.
Ever since then, he has missed only a handful of rugby matches, while also making it a point to watch games from all levels, including school competitions.
He has also travelled to places like Hong Kong, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates to cheer on the Singapore teams playing in overseas competitions.
This long love affair with rugby has led to him being recognised by the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) as the nation's most ardent rugby fan.
Yesterday, at the World Club 10s tournament at the new National Stadium, Chua was presented with a "golden ticket" - which will grant him access to the VIP hospitality suites of all SRU-sanctioned matches in Singapore.
Said SRU president Low Teo Ping: "If there's one person who's been an ardent fan of Singapore rugby and deserves such recognition, it is Ah Chua. "We would not be doing justice if we did not recognise him."
Even at his age, Chua is still determined to attend games involving a Singapore team.
"As long as my legs are still strong, I'll continue going to rugby games involving Singapore," he said, in a mix of Hokkien and Mandarin.
Meanwhile, Reiner Leong became the first Singaporean athlete to score at the new National Stadium, as he claimed two tries for the Asia Pacific Dragons against the Brumbies and Petraca Rugby in Pool B.
This article was first published on June 22, 2014.
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