Hockey: Winds of change swirl at Sengkang

Whatever happens at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium, the Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) will have a change in leadership.

Incumbent president K Ramamoorthy has decided that he will not run for a second term after taking the reins from Annabel Pennefather in 2012, but the AGM is poised for possibly more than just a presidential shift.

Led by current deputy president Sinderpal Singh, a whole new team made up of former players and administrators - beefed up by former SHF chief executive Mark Chay - will contest all 10 key positions in the executive committee.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Ramamoorthy, who also held the top hockey post from November 2003 to July 2004, said: "Due to my heavy commitments in other community service related activities and my need to focus on them more closely, I have decided to step down as SHF president."

Sinderpal will run for the seat vacated, and will go up against current vice-president Mathavan Devadas.

Sinderpal's rallying cry is that of change.

"I have been on the outside and have had a lot of gripes about how things are run, so I got in (into the executive council in 2012) and tried to do many things," he told The New Paper.

"But change needs to happen with people who are new, because the old mindsets are hard to change."

Sinderpal's team have four members who have been part of SHF in the past - Kong Chee Seng (vice-president 2004-2012), Sanjay Patel (vice-president 2012 - present) and Chay (chief executive 2011- 2012), but it is the new blood that he thinks will make the difference.

"In this team there is a good mix of those in the corporate world, along with those with experience in hockey as well as other sports," he said.

"Sponsorship is important in sports, but we don't have private sector know-how - this team has that kind of knowledge that can drive what we want to do."

Former Singapore international Paul Lim, who will run for one of the four vice-president posts as part of Sinderpal's team, will be key.


He came forward to fund the national team's bid to qualify for the recently concluded Asian Games, through the company he founded, The Project Group.

He has also worked with hockey equipment brand JDH, and its founder, Australian star Jamie Dwyer, and through that, linking Singapore hockey with their world champion counterparts from Down Under.

"We are solely focused on improving Singapore hockey, that's our main objective, to give Singapore hockey a rebirth," said Lim.

"We have a mix of professionals and former national players to help see this through."

They come armed with a plan, focused on youth development and a revamp of the league.

While their youth development plans centre on bringing back age-group sides that consistently train and play together, with small-sided games to engage and keep younger players interested in the game, their vision for the league harks back to the past.

"We want to bring the league back to the days when we witnessed a packed stadium," said Lim.

Senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore, Sinderpal, is already pleased that his team are at least giving the hockey fraternity something to think about.

"It's not good for the fraternity that election after election, they don't really have choices to make," he said.

"We want to give the hockey community a credible option - that if they want change, they now have a choice."

This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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