SINGAPORE - Ben Tan's involvement in sport - as a former national sailor, current president of SingaporeSailing and chief of sports medicine at Changi General Hospital - exposed him to sporting ecosystems both in and outside Singapore, giving him a wealth of experience.
The 50-year-old hopes he can help other national sports associations (NSAs) by sharing that experience in his new role as one of four vice-presidents of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).
Tan, Milan Kwee, Jessie Phua and Tan Eng Liang were elected unopposed at the SNOC's annual general meeting at Raffles Town Club on Tuesday night (June 5).
SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also Speaker of Parliament, was re-elected unanimously and will serve his second term as president until 2022.
Ben Tan, an Asian Games and four-time SEA Games sailing champion, said he felt a "duty to serve".
"I'd like to help all NSAs, especially the ones who need it more, put in place strong systems and processes and we can do that by sharing best practices," said the first chairman of the SNOC Athletes' Commission in 2003.
"I've been involved in sport since young and, throughout that journey, I've learnt so much... if I keep (that experience) to myself, it's a bit selfish, so why not share it?"
Ben Tan and Singapore Taekwondo Federation president Kwee are the only new additions to the SNOC executive committee after Annabel Pennefather and Low Teo Ping did not stand for re-election.
The AGM was attended by 162 voting members from 43 NSAs.
This is the first year that the changes to the election of the vice-presidents in the SNOC's constitution, approved two years ago, took effect.
With these changes, the two vice-presidents (Ben Tan and Kwee) with the highest number of votes will serve four-year terms while the other two vice-presidents (Phua and Tan Eng Liang) will serve two-year terms.
Kwee, who was chef de mission at last year's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, hopes to raise the level of Singapore sport.
"We can only succeed if we bring everybody together to work in the same direction. We can then achieve a lot for the betterment of sport in Singapore," said the 71-year-old.
Singapore Silat Federation chief executive officer Sheik Alau'ddin, who voted for Ben Tan and Kwee, said: "I'm always in support of people who put their heart and soul into wanting to (take) Singapore sport to the next level."
He was also in favour of both men serving four-year terms, as he feels this would provide enough time for them to get to know people from other NSAs and propose recommendations to improve sport here.
Singapore Swimming Association president Lee Kok Choy did not reveal who he voted for, but he believes the skills and experience of the new faces will be great assets.
Referring to Kwee's stint as chef de mission at the SEA Games last year, Lee said: "I felt that he was supportive of the athletes and we were very pleased working with him.
"Ben is very much involved in sports, as well as how to support sports in terms of sports science and medicine... I think he'll be a great asset."