Building grassroots key for vice-presidential candidates

Jonathan Leow (above) and Martin Williams are both vying for the lone vice-presidential seat available in tomorrow's election.
Jonathan Leow (above) and Martin Williams are both vying for the lone vice-presidential seat available in tomorrow's election.ST FILE PHOTO
Jonathan Leow and Martin Williams (above) are both vying for the lone vice-presidential seat available in tomorrow’s election.
Jonathan Leow and Martin Williams (above) are both vying for the lone vice-presidential seat available in tomorrow’s election.ST FILE PHOTO

Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) vice-president Jonathan Leow, who is facing a challenge by Martin Williams in tomorrow's election, is keen to improve the national team's consistency if he is re-elected.

While he acknowledged recent improvements by the team, he also pointed out that "there are ups and downs".

Referring to the team's performances in the multi-divisional Asian Rugby Championship, he said: "We do very well one year, we get promoted, then we get demoted. We need to ensure that we're at a level where we can sustain and dominate across all levels."

The national team have yo-yoed between the divisions for the past five years.

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In 2013, they were promoted to the first division and remained in the top flight for three years before being relegated to the second division after last season.

The world's 59th-ranked team are up against India, Thailand and Chinese Taipei for promotion back into the first division when the season starts on Nov 15.

Leow, 37, a senior marketing manager of Fox Networks Group, admitted that achieving consistency is "not an easy task".

He said: "There are very obvious things like coaching, more games for the national team and more club games. It's not focusing on just high performance, it's looking at the grassroots level.

"If we build the base (well) at the age-group levels, the club levels, we'll have enough (talent).

"That's the challenge - building that base. I'm in a position where I'd like to enlarge that base and go bigger and better this year."

Williams also identified the grassroots as one of his three main areas of focus, and aims to "develop players from school level to national level".

The former SRU vice-president (1992-1993 and 2006-2007) said: "I'll work with the rugby community on that to try and maximise any potential that is there, to see how we can tie together and have a structured pathway for the players."

The managing director of a project management services company is also aiming for an improved administration and domestic league structure.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2017, with the headline 'Building grassroots key for vice-presidential candidates'. Print Edition | Subscribe