Teo Chee Hean passes the SNOC torch to Tan Chuan-Jin

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean has stepped down as the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) president after 16 years at the helm.

Mr Teo, who took over from Dr Yeo Ning Hong in 1998, is succeeded by Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.

Addressing members of the local sporting fraternity at the SNOC annual general meeting (AGM) held at the Swissotel Merchant Court yesterday evening, Mr Teo said: "It has been my honour and privilege to serve as the president of the SNOC since 1998. I want to thank all of you for your trust and support, and for your dedication to sport in Singapore.

"Even though I am stepping down as SNOC president at this AGM, I will continue to take an active interest in sports, and in our athletes, and to support you in any way I can."

A farewell video rounded up the AGM, with national athletes Remy Ong, Dipna Lim-Prasad and Lim Heem Wei lauding Mr Teo for his contributions to local sports and his approachability.

Mr Tan, who was elected to the post unopposed, is not new to the sporting fraternity, having been co-opted into the SNOC executive committee in April last year.

Paying tribute to Mr Teo, he said: "As with all organisations we will constantly review how we conduct our business but, certainly, I think it's in good shape.

"Sports is evolving well so I think we'll just build on the strengths we have and continue to improve where we can."

Mr Teo's reign as SNOC president coincided with many headline-making moments in local sports. World champions emerged from sports such as table tennis, bowling, sailing, silat and wushu, as athletes etched the country's name in the global sporting consciousness. The women's table tennis team also clinched a historic silver at the 2008 London Olympics, ending the Republic's 48-year wait for an Olympic medal after Tan Howe Liang bagged a weightlifting silver in 1960.

Singapore also established itself as an efficient host of Olympic-sanctioned events during Mr Teo's tenure.

The Republic hosted the 117th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session at the Raffles City Convention Centre, which saw London win the right to host the 2012 Olympics.

Singapore also held the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, a year after hosting the inaugural Asian Youth Games.

Mr Teo passes the baton to Mr Tan ahead of an exciting year in the Singapore sports calendar, headlined by the opening of the new $1.3 billion Singapore Sports Hub and next June's hosting of the SEA Games.

Mr Tan's first order of business is to get to know the various national sports associations (NSAs) better. He said: "One of the things really is to get to know the sporting community, to visit the various NSAs and understand the issues that all of them are facing."

Yesterday's AGM also saw three of the four vice-presidents retain their positions - Mr Low Teo Ping, Ms Annabel Pennefather and Dr Tan Eng Liang. IOC member Ng Ser Miang did not run for the post, and Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua took the final spot.


This article was first published on July 01Y, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.