No go for weightlifting

Weightlifting will not be on the programme at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which will be held in Singapore in June next year.

The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) listened to an appeal by various regional weightlifting officials yesterday, but stuck to their guns in the end.

When contacted yesterday, SNOC secretary general Chris Chan said: "We asked the various NOCs (National Olympic Committees) which sports they wanted and weightlifting wasn't one that everybody wanted, whereas petanque was.

"Everyone was happy when we decided on the initial list of 30 sports (last December), and people started asking for this sport or that after an additional six sports were announced in February... we even had the president of an IF (international federation) making an appeal last December.

"But we have to stop somewhere."

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) had offered to foot the estimated $1 million required to bring in technical officials and equipment for the event.

The Commonwealth Weightlifting Federation offered to send coaches here to conduct courses for the local fraternity for free.

The Thailand Amateur Weightlifting Federation has agreed to host Singapore's weightlifters in training camps to prepare for the Games.

But, after hearing the appeal, SNOC vice-president Dr Tan Eng Liang and Chan were unmoved.


Speaking to The New Paper later, IWF vice-president Dato Ong Poh Eng said: "We are very, very disappointed... The world federation, the Commonwealth federation and the SEA (South-east Asian) federation all want to help Singapore, but Singapore is not helping itself. It will kill the sport."

A list of 30 sports for the 2015 Games was agreed upon on the sidelines of last year's event in Myanmar.

Six other sports - rowing, petanque, floorball, equestrian, volleyball and boxing - will be confirmed when the SEA Games Federation meets this month.

Chan revealed that some countries have asked for additional events, and the SNOC would accommodate some requests, subject to the availability of facilities.

Weightlifting has featured in every Games since its inception in 1959 except in 1999 in Brunei.

One of Singapore's greatest moments came in 1960, when weightlifter Tan Howe Liang won a silver at the Rome Olympics and the Republic included the sport on the three occasions it has hosted the Games (1973, 1983, 1993).

Weightlifting also featured at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games here in 2010.

Singapore Weightlifting Federation president Tom Liaw told TNP that the sport had seen a "50 to 60 per cent" increase in participation after the Youth Olympics and he was hopeful of a bigger boost after next year's SEA Games.

Liaw was disappointed at the news, especially when he felt Singapore's lifters had medal potential.

Asked if they would consider hosting a separate South-east Asian Championships for weightlifting, Ong said: "We are not considering that for now.

"We are still hopeful that they (the organisers) will change their minds."

This article was published on April 3 in The New Paper.

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