Swimming: Oon unveils 'heavyweight' list of advisers

SINGAPORE - A "dream team", that was how Lee Kok Choy described the eight men and women he had assembled to vie to become the new Executive Council (exco) of the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) at their annual general meeting tonight.

Lee, who is the current secretary general of the SSA, is looking to succeed Jeffrey Leow as president and will go up against Singapore Bowling Federation chief Jessie Phua.

One of the biggest reasons for his "dream team" tag is Oon Jin Teik (right), who is challenging for the SSA's secretary general's position.

Oon, a former national swimmer and Olympian, was chief executive officer of Sport Singapore (formerly the Singapore Sports Council) from 2004 to 2010, before joining leading global water solutions company Hyflux as executive vice president of global marketing from 2011 to April 2014.


He is now the chief operating officer of the Singapore Sports Hub consortium.

Speaking 24 hours before one of the most exciting national sports association (NSA) showdowns in recent history, Oon gave an insight as to why he came on board.

At a media luncheon held at the Goodwood Park Hotel yesterday, Oon, 51, said: "I think you will know from my Sports Council background that the governance angle is a must-have. You can't engage and build when the back of your house has problems.

"Whenever I join an organisation I always ask who is the chief financial officer, and I do my own background check, because that is for my own personal integrity.

"So I asked Kok Choy who is handling the money, and for him to have trusted people handling the money puts me at ease."

He was referring to Sylvia Peh, who is on Lee's ticket and is vying to become SSA treasurer.

Peh is currently the assistant secretary general of the SSA.

She has an accounting and auditing background and works as a trading representative.

Oon yesterday named two "heavyweight" senior advisers that will come on board if Lee's team are successful tonight.

They are former chairman of Sport Singapore, Alex Chan (above, right), and president of Singapore Table Tennis Association, Lee Bee Wah.

While he would not reveal the third name, insisting he would only do so when given the green light, it is believed veteran sports administrator Low Teo Ping, the president of the Singapore Rugby Union, will also help Lee's team.

Said Oon: "Alex Chan is the former chairman of the Singapore Sports Council and he is very well known today.

"And Lee Bee Wah knows how to make an NSA tick. She knows how to keep money rolling in and I asked her to help me on NSA management, because she has brought in money that I've never seen in an NSA before.

"I'm embarrassed to say even I can't move as fast as her in terms of getting sponsorships."

Oon also unveiled a list of advisers for various departments of the SSA, Dr Cormac O Muircheartaigh for Sports Medicine, Png Weileen for Sports Nutrition, and Emily Ortega for Sports Psychology (for Sports Science and Sports Medicine), Adrian Staiti, senior vice president of Global Partnerships at World Sport Group (Sports Sponsorships), Dr Bervyn Lee (Pathway Development), Mahipal Singh (local coach development) and Bill Swettenham (High Performance).

"Today's sport is not just about training but also about the science so we need to bring relevant sports related medicine and science to our athletes," said Oon.

"Dr Cormac was formerly medical director of the Singapore Sports Institute, and when we did a survey of Team Singapore athletes across all the sports on who they would choose as their preferred doctor, over 90 per cent of them voted for Cormac."

Oon also announced the establishment of a Parents Advisory Group, which will link parents, athletes and coaches together.

In a surprising move, Lee's team plan to rope in Colin and May Schooling, the parents of swimmer Joseph Schooling, if they get the nod from the SSA affiliates tonight.

May is on Phua's team, vying to be SSA treasurer.

Said Oon: "The athlete, parent and coach angle is a very important relationship. I have not spoken to them (Colin and May) yet, but I respect what they have done for their son, the sacrifices they have made and the examples they have set as parents, and I respect how they have brought up Joseph."

This article was published on June 13 in The New Paper.

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