Rio Olympics 2016: 8 days to go

Olympics: Pool of local officials Rio-bound

Top: William Lee (left) and Steve Chew (right) both started officiating at diving and synchronised swimming competitions respectively about seven years ago because their children were involved in those sports. Above: Singapore will be represented in
William Lee (left) and Steve Chew (right) both started officiating at diving and synchronised swimming competitions respectively about seven years ago because their children were involved in those sports. ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Top: William Lee (left) and Steve Chew (right) both started officiating at diving and synchronised swimming competitions respectively about seven years ago because their children were involved in those sports. Above: Singapore will be represented in
Singapore will be represented in the Rio Games' hockey competition by officials Mathavan Devadas (left), Lim Hong Zhen (centre) and Lillian Chee (right).PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Aquatics duo will be Olympic judges after plunging into officiating because of their kids

Parents are quite often the driving force behind their children's excellence in sport. But the reverse holds true for William Lee and Steve Chew.

Lee, the Singapore Swimming Association's vice-president (diving), and Chew, the synchronised swimming committee's head of judges panel, will both attend their first Olympics next month.

They will be judges for the Olympic diving and synchronised swimming events respectively in Brazil.

Chew, 53, whose daughter is two-time SEA Games synchronised swimming gold medallist Geraldine, said: "When I first told Geraldine I was going to Rio, she was so excited for me and was also quite proud of me.

"She even joked about it, saying how she's glad at least someone in the family is representing us at the Olympics. But honestly, I'm thrilled to be part of the Olympics and to represent Singapore in this discipline."

The Fina-listed 'A' judge will be part of the 15-strong judging panel in Rio and will be one of only three Asians - the other two are from China and Japan. He has judged at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 2014 Asian Games, and last year's Fina World Championships.

REPRESENTING FAMILY AND COUNTRY

She even joked about it, saying how she's glad at least someone in the family is representing us at the Olympics.

STEVE CHEW , father of two-time SEA Games synchronised swimming gold medallist Geraldine, on his daughter's reaction when he told her that he would be officiating at the Rio Games.

Lee, father of last year's SEA Games diving silver-winning twins Mark and Timothy, said: "(Steve and I) both started officiating in the sport as volunteers seven or eight years ago, because of our children."

The 52-year-old, who has judged at the Fina Diving World Cup and Fina World Championships, added: "We're headed to the Olympics and it's a bit surreal when we think about how we started and where we came from. The both of us will definitely have our kids in mind over there and hopefully, they'll be there one day as well."

The Republic will also be involved in the hockey competition at the Aug 5-21 Games.

Umpire Lim Hong Zhen will be joined by Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) assistant general secretary, Lillian Chee - a judge in the women's competition - and SHF president Mathavan Devadas, an assistant technical delegate.

Mathavan said: "This will be my fourth Olympics but the rush and excitement are still as great as the first one - it never changes. Each experience is a new one.

"I'm looking forward to another spectacular show and to watch the best hockey players in the world in action," said the 56-year-old, who played a part in Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Lim, 30, added: "It's always a big honour to officiate at a major sporting spectacle like the Olympics. The stage doesn't get much grander for us. To be the first local umpire since 1972 (John Martens at the Munich Games) is a great pride in itself and I'm honoured to enter my first Olympics under such a circumstance."

Chee is eager to take part in her first Olympics too.

The 41-year-old said: "We're all ready and set to go once we touch down in Brazil. We've prepared ourselves well mentally and physically.

"We'll leverage on each other for any help and also on the officials from the other countries. Our motto there will be 'panic slowly', and be calm ahead of this new experience."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline 'Pool of local officials Rio-bound'. Print Edition | Subscribe