Taekwondo: Singapore Taekwondo Federation to be run by interim panel

Attendees streaming in for the Singapore Taekwondo Federation extraordinary general meeting yesterday. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Attendees streaming in for the Singapore Taekwondo Federation extraordinary general meeting yesterday. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Committee may also co-opt members of the taekwondo fraternity to ensure continuity

A five-man interim management committee led by Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) vice-president Tan Eng Liang will take charge of the Singapore Taekwondo Federation (STF).

This was confirmed at the STF's extraordinary general meeting (EGM) yesterday after its affiliates voted 83 against 21 to approve the recommendation to allow the SNOC to appoint an interim committee to lead the national sports association.

They also approved the acceptance of World Taekwondo's (WT) directive for the current STF management committee to step aside.

Both items were on the agenda for the EGM, which lasted over three hours at the STF's national training centre in Lorong Limau.

The interim committee includes 1999 SEA Games taekwondo champion S. Sinnathurai, SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan, Singapore Sports Institute chief Toh Boon Yi and SNOC Athletes' Commission chairman Mark Chay.

They will be supported by staff from the SNOC and national sports agency Sport Singapore.

The interim committee, whose tenure is still undecided, may also co-opt members from the taekwondo fraternity to "ensure continuity of business at the STF", said an SNOC spokesman.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS

The priority is to put fair and transparent processes and policies in place so the STF can operate in a professional environment with transparency and proper governance and that athletes' interests are protected.

'' AN SNOC SPOKESMAN, on the important tasks ahead for the interim committee.

"The priority is to put fair and transparent processes and policies in place so the STF can operate in a professional environment with transparency and proper governance and that athletes' interests are protected," said the spokesman.

"The objective is to ensure that the house is in order for the long-term good of the sport, and to reinstate STF's membership with WT.

"We hope to work closely with the taekwondo fraternity in this process and continue to support the sport in the years ahead."

Asked what the scope of the committee is, the spokesman added: "The scope includes, but is not limited to, reviewing (the) constitution of the STF, reviewing and developing standard operating procedures for processes within the STF, addressing all conflict-of-interest issues and implement conflict-of-interest policies for the STF, reviewing and developing selection policies for athletes and all competition officials and developing a multi-year sports development and high performance plan."

Acting STF president David Koh would only say after the EGM: "(Today's result) is the best decision. Everything we do is for the benefit of the affiliates and all the members - that's our objective."

Jason Tan, 40, from STF affiliate Ignite TKD, said: "The five people in the interim committee are very reputable... Hopefully, taekwondo in Singapore can progress better and we can go back to the days where we can do our sport properly."

Also on the agenda for yesterday's EGM was giving the affiliates background to the STF's preliminary suspension by WT and the SNOC.

WT had last October expressed concerns to the SNOC over the resignations of seven management committee members, and asked for the situation to be reviewed.

After the SNOC submitted its report to WT, the STF was charged on May 8 with violating the world body's rules on good governance and failure to receive recognition from the appropriate national Olympic committee.

WT said in its e-mail to acting STF president Koh that it found "evidence of violations of the WT Code of Ethics Articles 2 (Officials) and 9 (Conflict of Interest)" by STF general manager Lim Teong Chin and his wife Wong Liang Ming, who is the secretary-general of the STF.

Wong told ST on May 11 that she would be stepping down from her post while Lim resigned with immediate effect last Monday. Both did not attend the EGM.

Sinnathurai, the Asia sales director for Rotronic Instruments, hopes to contribute in implementing good practices and good governance, as well as in the area of athlete development.

The 47-year-old, who stopped competing in 2000, said: "The path I took was engineering as there were not many options then to pursue a career in sport. I've always wanted to go back to Singapore sport, now it's good that I can come back and contribute.

"There should be some programme in place to help (athletes) train and compete, so I hope to work with the athletes and their parents and engage stakeholders to ensure that athletes have the right training.

"We can't produce champions overnight but, at the very least, there needs to be proper planning. It'll be my interest to make sure that we can have proper athlete development."

Former national swimmer Chay wants to improve on existing processes in athlete feedback.

"(The things I would like to focus on are) open flow of information between the federation and the athletes - these include selection policies and training development plans - and having adequate and conducive training and competition environment," he said.

"Together with my previous experiences as a sports administrator and national athlete, I will take an athlete-centric approach to creating policies and making decisions for the taekwondo fraternity."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2019, with the headline 'STF to be run by interim panel'. Print Edition | Subscribe