SNOC to handle Taekwondo's Sea Games prep

S'pore Taekwondo Federation suspended by world body and SNOC

The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) will set up a major Games preparation committee for taekwondo, after the Singapore Taekwondo Federation (STF) was suspended by international governing body World Taekwondo (WT).

This means the committee will take over the preparations of the taekwondo exponents in the lead-up to this year's SEA Games in the Philippines.

The SNOC has also suspended the STF as its affiliate and will work closely with national agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) to manage the selection and training of the taekwondo athletes for the Nov 30 to Dec 11 Games.

The SNOC said last night it was contacted by WT last October to "express concern over the recent developments at the STF after the mass resignations of seven STF management committee members and how the matter was handled".

WT then sought the SNOC's assistance to review the situation.

Adding that it has "grave concerns in the governance and high performance management of the STF", the SNOC noted: "It is regretful that the state of affairs at the STF has languished to its current situation. The foremost priority is to restore proper, fair and transparent systems in the governance and high performance management of Singapore taekwondo.

"We hope the entire taekwondo fraternity will work together with the SNOC and SportSG in moving the sport forward."

Suspended members will no longer be able to attend official meetings, participate in all WT official events and are ineligible to receive funds from WT.

The Straits Times understands WT had written to STF last week, requesting the STF management step down or face suspension over unspecified issues, with the Singapore body responding earlier this week.

Neither WT nor STF responded to ST by press time.

Taekwondo exponent Ng Ming Wei, 24, a bronze medallist at the 2015 SEA Games, welcomed the news and was "heartened by (WT and the SNOC's) proactive stance and deep concern for our national athletes".

He added: "I hope this suspension will be followed up with further positive action designed specifically with the welfare and development of the players in mind."

The STF's suspension is the latest blow for the national association - a WT affiliate since 1975 - after recent spats with members of its fraternity.

Earlier this month, some current and former athletes were unhappy with the way the national squad's training was conducted, according to local news site Mothership. Their grievances include a lack of close coaching and clear training plans.

The STF's mass exodus of management committee members included long-time president Milan Kwee. He was replaced by acting president David Koh, who had insisted to ST then that everything was under control - a view which was disputed in an ST forum letter by STF member Daniel Tay.

The SNOC, in 2017 (athletics) and 2001 (gymnastics), has previously stepped in after NSAs were either unable or deemed incapable of taking charge of a sport.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2019, with the headline 'SNOC to handle Taekwondo's Sea Games prep'. Print Edition | Subscribe