Obituary: Singapore sport will miss Chng

His smile was infectious, his personality admirable and his mannerisms impeccable.

Chng Seng Mok was one of Singapore's leading sportsmen, but he always preferred to let others take the limelight.

Still in that low profile stance, he drew attention because he was a top trap shooter, who was a multi-medallist at regional Games and a true Olympian.

So tributes were easily forthcoming when news spread that Chng, 65, died of cancer yesterday morning, leaving behind daughters Charlene and Stephanie.

I was with Chng at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and he was always accommodating and engaging, fully understanding the plight of journalists who are assigned to major sports and often left the sport of shooting with footnotes.

But as a top-notch shooter and an Asian Games bronze medallist, and later president of the Singapore Shooting Association (SSA) from 2004 to 2012, he worked hard to lift the sport to new highs.

GOOD BOSS

On several of my visits to a Poh Heng Jewellery - a family business founded in 1948 which he took over as managing director in 1984 - Ang Mo Kio Branch, I realised what a nice man he was.

Whenever I mentioned his name to his staff, they had only good words about him, a familiar refrain being "he's a good boss".

Former national shooter Lee Wung Yew said yesterday: "I heard about the news just this afternoon and have been messaging our former teammates about it, and they have all reacted with shock and disbelief.

"I had some information about his illness earlier, but he was very private about it. As a teammate, he inspired the belief in young shooters like me that we could be world class."

Said Annabel Pennefather, Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) vice-president: "It is really sad, not just for the shooting community, but also for the entire sporting fraternity here, when you lose such a good and strong sports administrator.

"He was always on the ground and very connected to things that were happening in the sport. When we were working together in the SNOC, I found him to be a very proactive person."

SSA president Michael Vaz said: "It was an absolute shock when I heard the news. We have been teammates since the early '90s. As a shooter, I've never seen him lose his temper or blame anyone for his bad scores and, as a leader, he was always there to help me when I took over at SSA.

"He was very private about his illness, I heard that he was sick and had an operation a month ago."

Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua, who was in tears, said: "I am now in shock, it is such a terrible loss.

"You know who your true friends are when the chips are down and Seng Mok was one who you could count on to be there for you.

"He was so helpful and a pillar of strength when things got tough when I was campaigning to become the president of the then-Singapore Tenpin Bowling Congress.

"He was a man of such integrity and was humble to a fault. A true gentleman and friend."

Singapore sport will truly miss gentleman Chng.


This article was first published on Sept 27, 2015.
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