SAA's Loh and Lee appeal against double suspensions

File photo of Loh Chan Pew

Singapore Athletics Association's (SAA) vice-presidents Loh Chan Pew and Steven Lee on Thursday filed appeals against their suspensions.

The duo were slapped with a four-month ban last week, as they were deemed to have undermined the authority of the SAA executive committee.

Lee, 63, who was in charge of training and selection, also spoke for the first time on Thursday.

The association's president Tang Weng Fei had earlier told The Straits Times that Lee had overstepped his authority by contacting the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) - without his knowledge - to clarify SAA operating procedures.

Lee said: "I did not contact the IAAF to inquire about the SAA. I asked about an IAAF procedure. In fact, if I need to understand and I cannot write to them, who do I ask? This sits squarely within my authority as the V-P.

"To say that I did not keep the president informed on a mundane inquiry had me scratching my head. Where did I go wrong to deserve such over-the-top punishment?"

He admitted that he was shocked and confused by his suspension, which was meted out at a Feb 18 meeting.

In Loh's appeal letter, the long-serving 69-year-old official continued to allege that a senior member of the SAA was involved in irregular practices, which included giving false statements to a Singapore Sports Council staff member.

At the SSC's instruction, Tang has convened a board of inquiry - consisting of SAA members - who are looking into the matter.

Another charge brought against Loh was that he behaved aggressively at an SAA meeting last month.

He admitted to have called fellow vice-president William Wong "despicable", but added that "it took two hands to clap".

CHAN U-GENE

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