Former national sailor Ben Tan open to NMP position

Former national sailor Ben Tan (centre, with microphone) speaking to the media at the National Sailing Centre on 29 October 2010. Dr Tan announced yesterday that he is open to being considered as a Nominated Member of Parliament to represent sports'
Former national sailor Ben Tan (centre, with microphone) speaking to the media at the National Sailing Centre on 29 October 2010. Dr Tan announced yesterday that he is open to being considered as a Nominated Member of Parliament to represent sports' interest in the House. -- FILE PHOTO: SINGAPORE SAILING

An Asian Games gold medallist could be the new champion of local sports in Parliament.

Former national sailor Ben Tan announced yesterday that he is open to being considered as a Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) to represent sports' interest in the House.

In a statement, Dr Tan, 46, said: "I have been approached by senior figures in the sports community to be considered for the NMP position.

"These are individuals whom I hold in high esteem. I am deeply humbled by their belief in me, and will be happy to serve if the rest of the sports community feels I am the right representative for the position."

Dr Tan won a gold medal in sailing at the 1994 Asian Games, and is currently head and senior consultant sports physician at Changi Sports Medicine Centre at the Changi General Hospital.

His announcement comes a day after Singapore Modern Pentathlon Association president Nicholas Fang said he will not be seeking a second term when his current 21/2-year term comes to an end in August. If selected, Dr Tan - who is also president of SingaporeSailing - will be the fourth national athlete to serve as NMP, after Mr Ng Ser Miang (sailing), Miss Joscelin Yeo (swimming) and Mr Fang (fencing).

Said Dr Tan: "NMP Nicholas Fang and the NMPs before him have done a great job representing the views of the sports community in Parliament, and I certainly recognise the need to build on that."

SingaporeBowling president Jessie Phua, a former NMP, said these are "exciting times" for Singapore sports, and emphasised the need to have someone champion the cause of local sports.

"Sports continue to play a big part in the life of Singaporeans. It is a way of life, it brings everyone together from different walks of life, and it is important for sports to have a strong enough presence in Parliament," she said.

Mr Fang, an ex-national fencer, said: "Ben is a great choice. He is passionate about sports, and as a former national athlete, knows the system well. That is a big advantage for anyone championing the sports cause."

Members of the public have until May 20 to propose individuals they deem suitable to be an NMP.

siangyee@sph.com.sg