Tan Howe Liang, 2 veteran sports officials, 1st S'poreans to receive IOC Diploma of Merit

(From left) IOC's Ng Ser Miang, SNOC's Chris Chan, weightlifter Tan Howe Liang, SNOC's Tan Eng Liang, and Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
(From left) IOC's Ng Ser Miang, SNOC's Chris Chan, weightlifter Tan Howe Liang, SNOC's Tan Eng Liang, and Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.PHOTO: TWITTER / ST SPORTS DESK
Tan Howe Liang in 1966. He had attained a world record, an Olympic silver, two Commonwealth gold and an Asian Games gold.
Tan Howe Liang in 1966. He had attained a world record, an Olympic silver, two Commonwealth gold and an Asian Games gold. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first Olympic medallist Tan Howe Liang and Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) vice-president Dr Tan Eng Liang and secretary-general Chris Chan were honoured by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for their contributions to the Olympic movement on Tuesday night.

They became the first Singaporeans to be awarded with an IOC Diploma of Merit, a revived Olympic award on behalf of the IOC President Thomas Bach, each at an awards presentation ceremony at Faber Peak Singapore. This award was first given out in 1905 but was discontinued in 1974.

ActiveSG, Sport Singapore's national programme for sports, was awarded the IOC "Sport and Innovation" Trophy, in recognition for its efforts to encourage more Singaporeans to take up sports.

The awards were presented by SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin and IOC member Ng Ser Miang.

Mr Tan, who is also the Minister for Social and Family Development, said in his address: "The lives of Mr Tan Howe Liang, Dr Tan Eng Liang and Mr Chris Chan espoused deeds which have served our community and created a meaningful impact to the Olympic movement."

"Often, we seek inspiration from figures in sport from people whose hearts are in sport not for expedient reasons or for personal benefit, but for all the priceless values that sport upholds.

"Howe Liang, Eng Liang and Chris have demonstrated these values through their commitment to sports."

Chan has been SNOC secretary-general since 2002. The 66-year-old former S-League chief executive officer is responsible for the day-to-day running of the SNOC. The SNOC is in charge of selecting athletes to four major Games: Olympics, Asian, Commonwealth and SEA Games. The veteran sports administrator currently also serves on the Board of Anti-Doping Singapore, the Singapore Olympic Academy, the Singapore Sports School and the Singapore Olympic Foundation.

Former weightlifter Tan, 83, made history when he won a silver medal at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games.

Dr Tan has served as SNOC's vice-president since 1991. The 79-year-old was also the chairman of then-Singapore Sports Council (now called Sport Singapore) from 1975 to 1991, and has led Team Singapore as chef de mission to 12 major Games, including last year's SEA Games, where he was the co-chef de mission with Nicholas Fang.

Ng, a former IOC vice-president, said in his speech: "As Singapore celebrated our 50th anniversary last year, we also celebrated and recognised the remarkable role sports have played in our nation-building. The IOC recognises... their significant contributions to the Olympic movement and sport in Singapore and internationally."

This is not the first time that Singapore has received recognition from the IOC.

Since 1986, 30 IOC awards have been given to individuals and organisations, including former SNOC president Teo Chee Hean, former national swimmer Ang Peng Siong and the Ministry of Education.