Finance man to lead Rio para team

President Tony Tan Keng Yam (sixth from left) watching Derek Wong in action during his visit yesterday to observe athletes training for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics. "I hope that we'll win a few medals," he said.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam (sixth from left) watching Derek Wong in action during his visit yesterday to observe athletes training for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics. "I hope that we'll win a few medals," he said.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SNPC treasurer Ho is chef de mission of 9-man Paralympic team, the largest ever

Singapore's largest contingent to the Paralympic Games this September will be led by Ho Cheng Kwee, who has been appointed the chef de mission of the contingent.

Despite a low profile, the 66-year-old serves in several capacities in the disability sport community here, both as honorary treasurer of the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) and as assistant treasurer of the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC).

He could not be contacted yesterday as he is currently overseas. But SNPC chairman Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, who is also SDSC's president, said Ho is no stranger to disability sports in Singapore.

She told The Straits Times: "Mr Ho has been serving on SNPC and SDSC's boards since 2012. He has played a key role in board governance and raising funds to support Team Singapore's participation in major (events) and our para-athletes in their quest for sporting excellence."

Ho, who retired in 2011 and is married with two sons, has a background in finance, having held positions such as chief financial officer with Shell Chemicals Canada and finance director of Shell Eastern Petroleum in Singapore.

As chef de mission, he will lead Team Singapore's bumper crop of nine athletes across four sports in Rio de Janeiro, where the Paralympics will be held from Sept 7-18.

Four of the nine who have qualified for Brazil so far received a visit from President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday, when he dropped in on them before para-swimmers Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xiu began their training at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. Sailor Jovin Tan and equestrienne Gemma Rose Foo were also present.

Before meeting the para-athletes, Dr Tan also met Olympic-bound shuttlers Derek Wong and Liang Xiaoyu at the OCBC Arena to offer his encouragement.

In his personal interaction with the athletes, he asked about their training schedules, preparations, and also reminded them to enjoy the experience but also strive to make Singapore proud.

Speaking to the media after his visit, Dr Tan said: "It's not only they themselves, as individuals qualifying, that's important. It's the spirit they show, overcoming obstacles.

"It is an inspiration to all Singaporeans. I'm certainly very encouraged when I see them."

Dr Tan also called on Singaporeans to rally behind the athletes for both the Aug 5-21 Olympic Games and the Paralympics that follow.

He said: "I hope that we'll win a few medals.

"I'm confident we'll be able to do so, but they need all our support and help to do this.

"I'm sure they'll carry our flag high and be an inspiration to all Singaporeans.

"Let's all wish them the best of luck and support them all the way."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2016, with the headline 'Finance man to lead Rio para team'. Print Edition | Subscribe