Change afoot at SRU as ex-captain faces contest for post

Among former national rugby player Terence Khoo's aims for the SRU is to expand the talent pool for national selection by strengthening the link between schools and club rugby.
Among former national rugby player Terence Khoo's aims for the SRU is to expand the talent pool for national selection by strengthening the link between schools and club rugby.ST FILE PHOTO

The Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) is set for a leadership change for the first time in more than a decade, after former national captain Terence Khoo entered his name yesterday for the president's position at the June 20 election.

Nominations closed at 5pm and it is understood a second candidate, from within the local rugby community, also threw his hat into the fray for the top post.

The presence of both men vying to helm the SRU means that incumbent and veteran administrator Low Teo Ping will have to vacate his role after 11 years in charge. He succeeded former chief Chan Peng Mun in 2006 and reached the maximum eight-year term allowed by the SRU constitution in 2014 but was invited to continue for another term in the absence of a contender.

Khoo, 46, paid tribute to Low's contributions, which includes reviving the local scene and bringing in world-class events like Super Rugby matches and the HSBC World Rugby Seven Series.

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Singapore will also host a Scotland-Italy clash on Saturday at the National Stadium - the first top- level international Test match here.

He said: "Teo Ping did a good job in setting up the infrastructure. I will look to bring in a fresh perspective and develop a deeper understanding of the smaller pieces."

The 72-year-old Low, who is also Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president, said it would be inappropriate to comment at this juncture when contacted last night.

Any change at the top can be tricky but the fraternity was optimistic of the sport's future.

Assistant manager of the men's national sevens team Jonathan Lee said: "You can tell that we are moving in the right direction in terms of developing the sport and exposing the sport to the Singapore community. Whatever happens in the future, I just hope we keep moving in the right direction."

Among Khoo's targets is to widen the talent pool for national selection by strengthening the pathway between school and club levels.

He played for Singapore from 1988 to 2000 and has served as SRU's general manager from 1995 to 1999. The Sheffield University law graduate had also worked as a director for sports business with the then Singapore Sports Council (now known as Sport Singapore).

The managing director of sports marketing company Enterprise Sports Group said: "I believe it's the right time because my business is stable, my children are grown up and I miss the game.

"I hope to bring in more people from different levels such as clubs, schools, administrators to support... It'll then be easier to join the dots and close the gaps."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Change afoot at SRU as ex-captain faces contest for post'. Print Edition | Subscribe