Taekwondo: STF committee member Leon Koh resigns, citing decisions 'not made in the interests' of the fraternity

The Singapore Taekwondo Federation's suspension by the SNOC means it cannot nominate athletes to compete at major Games such as the SEA Games.
The Singapore Taekwondo Federation's suspension by the SNOC means it cannot nominate athletes to compete at major Games such as the SEA Games.PHOTO: SINGAPORE TAEKWONDO FEDERATION/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A member of the Singapore Taekwondo Federation's (STF) management committee has resigned from his post in another blow for the national sports association, following its suspension by World Taekwondo (WT).

Long-serving committee member Leon Koh resigned on Friday (May 10), telling The Straits Times it was a decision he had been pondering for a few months.

His departure takes place nine days before the STF's May 19 extraordinary general meeting.

Describing the STF's suspension by WT as the "catalyst for my decision", the 45-year-old told ST: "I joined the committee to serve the taekwondo community, and to also contribute and raise the level of coaching and standard of taekwondo in Singapore.

"With the de-affiliation, it would make it difficult for me to continue contributing in the area I'd like.

"In terms of decision-making as a committee, we should be looking at the betterment of the taekwondo community at large, and it seems at times that decisions made are not in the interest of many, but just to serve a few."

Koh declined to elaborate saying it was "not appropriate to discuss" those matters.

The STF had been provisionally suspended by WT on Wednesday for "failures of good governance and failure to receive recognition from the appropriate NOC", said WT secretary-general Hoss Rafaty in an e-mail addressed to acting STF president David Koh.

 
 
 

Leon Koh referred to the Singapore National Olympic Council's (SNOC) suspension of the STF as its affiliate, saying: "If you're de-affiliated by the SNOC, that would say a lot... that you're not able to serve the general population in promoting taekwondo.

"If we continue along this line, the committee only serves a handful of people and that's not what I'm comfortable with."

The remaining members of the STF's management committee are acting president David Koh, vice-president Santos Rivas, secretary-general Wong Liang Ming, assistant secretary-general Lai Han Seng, honorary treasurer Lee Thiam Poh, assistant honorary treasurer Sebastian Lee and committee members Tan Cheng Hui and Thomson Tan.

The STF's suspension by the SNOC means it cannot nominate athletes to compete at major Games such as the SEA Games.

But the SNOC has formed a major Games preparation committee to manage preparations for this year's SEA Games in the Philippines at the end of the year.

Leon Koh hailed this as a step in the right direction, and added: "The next step is to organise a call to rally the taekwondo community together, to develop the sport in various aspects."