Affiliates told to vote 1 team in to maintain cohesiveness

Edmond Pereira cutting a disconsolate figure at the AGM, where he lost his third bid for the presidency. He had also run for the post in 1983 and 2000.
Edmond Pereira cutting a disconsolate figure at the AGM, where he lost his third bid for the presidency. He had also run for the post in 1983 and 2000.

Although they were dealt a crushing defeat at yesterday's Singapore Athletics Annual General Meeting, former national sprinter C. Kunalan and his running mates have accepted that they did not earn the affiliates' mandate.

Kunalan was running for the post of vice-president (competitions) but when Ho Mun Cheong edged out Edmond Pereira (who was making his third stab at the post) for the presidency, the 73-year-old conceded a walkover, effectively handing the job to Loh Chan Pew.

While the presidency was keenly fought - Ho triumphed 11-9 only after a second round of voting - the rest of the posts fell like dominoes to his team the moment he won.

Kunalan said: "I told (the affiliates) to vote a team in, because otherwise it's going to be difficult, as I've seen in the last two years.

"I saw the team breaking up and breaking up. I don't think I should work in such an environment. I just feel this is not the way friends should work.

NO HARD FEELINGS

I will support the new president as we are all passionate about athletics. The bad blood is all in the past and we will all continue to contribute.

GHANA SEGARAN, SA chairman (cross-country & road running), on working with Ho's team.

"This is what the athletics fraternity wants. It's okay. We expected it to be very close. From the beginning, I worked with the affiliates and told them why they should vote my team in. They obviously didn't buy it. That's fine.

"They (the new team) will do it their way and they will deliver. Everyone who comes into this business, they know what to do. I'm sure they will work together. They are friends, they will work together."

Pereira, who left the AGM early, could not be reached for comment. But his team member Ghana Segaran, who was elected chairman (cross-country and road racing), is willing to work with a committee filled mostly by Ho's men.

He said: "The affiliates know what they want and that's why they voted in this way.

"I will support the new president as we are all passionate about athletics. The bad blood is all in the past and we will all continue to contribute."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2016, with the headline 'Affiliates told to vote 1 team in to maintain cohesiveness'. Print Edition | Subscribe