Rugby: Khoo wins SRU vote to usher in new era

Low Teo Ping, (left) the outgoing president of the Singapore Rugby Union, shaking hands with his successor Terence Khoo, whose aim is to attract more people to the sport.
Low Teo Ping, (left) the outgoing president of the Singapore Rugby Union, shaking hands with his successor Terence Khoo, whose aim is to attract more people to the sport.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Former national skipper the first new president in more than a decade, set to pursue broad focus

The Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) began a new chapter yesterday, as former national captain Terence Khoo was elected the association's first new president in 11 years at the Delta Sports Complex.

Khoo, 46, had been up against incumbent honorary secretary Cheo Chai Hong, and won a vote by the SRU's eight affiliated clubs at last night's annual general meeting to succeed Low Teo Ping as president.

The association did not reveal how many votes he had won by.

Said Khoo after the election: "I'm deeply humbled (by the result). It's something I've prepared a lot for.

"The first thing I need to do now is to tap on the expertise of my learned colleagues, Mr Low and Mr Cheo."

Khoo's main goal during his two-year term is simple: To get more people playing the sport.

"From the age group teams to the clubs to the national team, this pathway for young players needs a little bit of work," said the managing director of sports marketing company Enterprise Sports Group.

As a former national player who featured for the Republic from 1988 to 2000, Khoo is also keen on improving the national team's performance.

"Rugby here is defined by our national team, and I've seen some results that I've been less than excited about," he said.

  • NEW SRU MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MEMBERS 

  • PRESIDENT 
    Terence Khoo 

    VICE-PRESIDENT 
    Martin Williams 

    ASSISTANT HONORARY SECRETARY 
    Shafiq Zulazmi 

    HONORARY TREASURER 
    Lim Tuck Beng 

    MEMBER 
    Calven Bland

Low took charge in 2006, with SRU then a bankrupt organisation rocked by an embezzlement scandal, and served for 11 years in the absence of willing successors.

However, Khoo resisted any suggestion that he has big shoes to fill, adding: "Teo Ping did well for us as a leader but he was also surrounded by many passionate people.

"It's not one man's job; rugby is a team game and we need to credit the whole (SRU) team's effort."

LOOKING TO STRENGTHEN A CULTURE

Rugby here is defined by our national team, and I've seen some results that I've been less than excited about.

TERENCE KHOO, the newly-elected president of the Singapore Rugby Union.

Five positions in the SRU's 11-member management committee were up for election last night - president, vice-president, honorary treasurer, assistant honorary secretary, and ordinary member - with the first three seeing contests.

In each of the three contests, the incumbent member lost out to the challenger.

Martin Williams defeated Jonathan Leow for the position of vice-president, while Lim Tuck Beng will be the SRU's new honorary treasurer after beating incumbent assistant honorary treasurer Jonathan Hui.

The remaining six positions will come up for election next year, when the incumbents' two-year terms expire.

Cheo, 64, was disappointed by the outcome but said there would be no issue working with his former opponent Khoo going forward in his capacity as honorary secretary.

"The rugby fraternity is not that big and we all know one another," said the SRU veteran, who has served on the management committee for 11 years alongside Low.

POSITIVE STEP

There's been no washing of dirty linen and everyone is still friendly despite the competition. Bringing in fresh minds will help take Singapore rugby to another level.

LOW TEO PING, the outgoing SRU president, who first took office in 2006.

"I have a year to go (until my term is up) and I've indicated my desire and intention to continue."

The votes were cast by representatives from eight local rugby clubs.

Outgoing president Low said he was very pleased with how the entire election process had unfolded.

"There's been no washing of dirty linen and everyone is still friendly despite the competition," said the 72-year-old, who had reached the maximum eight-year term allowed by the SRU in 2014 but was invited to continue.

"Bringing in fresh minds will help take Singapore rugby to another level."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Khoo wins SRU vote to usher in new era'. Print Edition | Subscribe