2 chefs de mission for SEA Games 2015

Experience will partner youthful enthusiasm, with the appointment of two chefs de mission to lead Team Singapore at next year's SEA Games.

The appointments of Dr Tan Eng Liang, 76, and Mr Nicholas Fang, 38, yesterday marked the Singapore National Olympic Council's (SNOC) commitment to blood a new generation of sports leaders, while ensuring that experience will not be found wanting at the Games, to be held in Singapore from June 5 to 16 next year.

Mr Fang has also affirmed his commitment to sports by announcing yesterday that he will not be seeking a second term as Nominated Member of Parliament.

"I want to focus all my energies on making sure that we do all that is needed to deliver the best possible result for Team Singapore in 2015," he said.

"I have been humbled to have been given a chance to serve as an NMP for the past 21/2 years , and I hope I've managed to contribute in a small way."

Yesterday marked the first time that two chefs de mission have been appointed for the biennial Games.

Mr Fang is a two-time SEA Games bronze medallist (2005, 2007) in fencing, and was president of Fencing Singapore. He is the president of the Singapore Modern Pentathlon Association.

While he was active in sports discussions during Parliament, this newest appointment will be his biggest role to date as a sports administrator.

Dr Tan, on the other hand, is one of the most senior sports leaders in Singapore.

A former national water polo player who took part in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, he served as chairman of the Singapore Sports Council from 1975 to 1991.

He was also appointed chef de mission for Team Singapore in numerous Games, most notably at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Now an SNOC vice-president, he said: "As the more senior person, I will lead and I take full responsibility.

"But I will give Nicholas his say, and every opportunity in decision-making. It's up to him at the end to see if he has benefited."

While he declined to speculate on how many golds Singapore could win, Dr Tan said that with an estimated 600 athletes and officials set to form the nation's largest SEA Games contingent, Team Singapore should be able to achieve their best-ever result.

Singapore achieved its best Games result when it last hosted the event in 1993, winning 50 golds, 40 silvers and 74 bronzes from 29 sports.

With 36 sports to be contested next year, Dr Tan said: "I hope it's going to be much, much better. I will be very disappointed if we can't get more than 50 golds."

Mr Fang, who covered the 1993 SEA Games as an intern with The Straits Times, said: "I like to think that Dr Tan and I are the biggest cheerleaders, but we must also keep everyone on track and support the athletes, so that they can deliver their best."


This article was published on May 7 in The Straits Times.

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