Karate fraternity still chopped up

SKF president David Thong.
SKF president David Thong. PHOTO: ST FILE

Breakaway group boycotts dialogue; SKF left to present training plans to Sport SG, SNOC

It was meant to be a meeting to resolve their long-standing differences but the bad blood between the Singapore Karate-Do Federation (SKF) and the breakaway Karate-Do Union of Singapore (KUS) continues.

The KUS, made up of seven clubs that were expelled by the SKF in 2010 for reportedly attempting to replace the latter as the governing body for local karate, did not attend last night's meeting at the Hotel Royal.

The SKF announced in a statement that "their refusal to take part in the discussion should now close the doors to them in future to complain to (national sports agency) SportSG and SNOC (Singapore National Olympic Council) that they have been excluded from the sport".

SKF president David Thong said after the no-show: "It is disappointing and regretful that these affiliates deprived themselves of a chance to address the old issues at this dialogue.

"We are particularly disappointed because we had hoped to present the detailed training programme and plans. Their athletes are now prevented from representing Singapore by the decisions of their club leaders. This has been endorsed by SportSG and the SNOC."

In the absence of the KUS yesterday, SKF officials presented their plans to two officials from SportSG's NSA partnership division as well as SNOC assistant secretary-general Edmund Lim.

SportSG disburses funding to national sports associations while the SNOC selects athletes for major events like the SEA Games and Asian Games.

Apart from trying to gain NSA status, the KUS has also bickered with the SKF over the selection of national karatekas. The squabble hit a low point last year when the sport was not included in the SEA Games as the SNOC deemed that the SKF did not have the support of the whole fraternity.

KUS president Roger Wang could not be reached for comment but the organisation's first president and adviser, Anil Ratty, said he is not surprised the breakaway association boycotted yesterday's meeting.

He said: "The SKF has no credibility. If the KUS could not get a good deal, what's the point in attending?

"KUS has continued to run tournaments and promote the sport. Singapore karate cannot move forward unless SportSG and SNOC look into the issue, clean house and get rid of the people running SKF."

But Thong insists the door is still open to the dissenters.

He said: "If any of their athletes would like to represent the country, they are welcome to join us anytime.

"The other party should not worry that we are absorbing their athletes. We have an open and transparent selection process. We have a pathway for the selection of athletes.

"I am already 54, it is also time to look ahead. The future of SKF belongs to the young generation. It is time to regenerate. Athletes already have voting rights and I want them to get a bigger role in the running of the sport."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2016, with the headline 'Karate fraternity still chopped up'. Print Edition | Subscribe