Founding of SNOC in 1947

The following is an excerpt from the book:

The (1948 London) Games needed more participating nations than the 49 who signed up for the last Olympics, the 1936 Berlin Games. But it was not an easy target.

The world war may be over but upheavals around the globe remained.

The Cold War had started, with the Soviet Union blockading Berlin; the French were fighting in Indo-China; the Arab-Israeli conflict was escalating; and the British were quelling a communist insurgency in Malaya. The London organisers did not want to invite Germany and Japan, the fallen enemies.

Some wounds remained too raw for even the supposed apolitical arena of sports.

It meant the London Olympics had to turn to the vast empire of Great Britain for more participants…

In early 1947, invitations were sent out.

But one British colony was not on the mailing list. Singapore, despite being a Crown Colony of the British Empire, did not receive an invitation to participate in the Games.

When news reached the island that it was omitted, the nation was indignant.

Its main English newspaper, The Straits Times, reported the news on March 20, 1947, and carried a commentary by its sports editor on the same day titled "Amazing State Of Affairs".

It laid the blame on the colonial government and the sporting community: "At present there is no central sporting body to which an Olympic invitation can be sent to. And, if Malaya were invited, there would be no central body to supervise the training, transport and management of the Olympic team."

On May 27, 1947, the Singapore Olympic and Sports Council (SOSC) was formally inaugurated…

It was clear that this formation was merely the first step to an eventual union with a Malayan Olympic body, which was as yet non-existent.

And while the immediate goal was the 1948 London Games, (Colonial Secretary Patrick) McKerron had said… that he wished for a longer-term legacy.

"I hope this meeting will result not only in having Olympic representation, but also in having a permanent influence on the country, especially our youths in the field of sports," he said.

The words would prove remarkably prescient exactly 60 years later when Singapore made a bid in 2007 for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2017, with the headline 'Founding of SNOC in 1947'. Print Edition | Subscribe