Technical director high on cycling chief's agenda

New Singapore Cycling Federation president Hing Siong Chen hopes to introduce a plan that will lead to podium finishes for Singapore's cyclists at the 2022 Asian Games.
New Singapore Cycling Federation president Hing Siong Chen hopes to introduce a plan that will lead to podium finishes for Singapore's cyclists at the 2022 Asian Games.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Following a breakthrough year that saw the country win its first men's cycling SEA Games title in 20 years and first women's track cycling medal, new Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) president Hing Siong Chen wants to raise the bar higher.

The 45-year-old, who was elected unopposed during the SCF elections in September, hopes to introduce a long-term plan that will lead to podium finishes at the 2022 Asian Games, and eventual qualification for the Olympic Games.

Hing, who started his duties on Oct 1, said: "For high performance, success doesn't happen overnight and we need to develop a pathway.

"And with some help from Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI), we've developed a five-year programme to start this pathway."

He was speaking to The Straits Times yesterday at the OCBC Cycle Road and Mountain Bike series prize presentation ceremony, which took place at the Infiniti Gallery.

Hing believes appointing a technical director will go a long way in developing a structured high-performance programme, which is high on his priorities.

"We need to find someone who's been there and who can map out our road to success... we need such a person to help us because we lack the experience," he said.

"Our talent is out there, our riders at the SEA or Asian Games level are not any weaker or less dedicated - we can probably achieve all that, we just don't have the technical know-how."

  • OCBC CYCLE 2017 WINNERS

  • ROAD SERIES

    OPEN: Teoh Yi Peng

    WOMEN'S OPEN: Serene Lee

    VETERANS: Matthew Sheridan

    WOMEN'S MASTERS: Christina Liew

    WOMEN'S SUPERMASTERS: Lynette Ngo

    MASTERS: Michael Naert

    SUPERMASTERS: David Strooper

    JUNIOR A: Curtis Tan

    MEN'S JUNIOR B: Jared Wong

    MOUNTAIN BIKE SERIES

    ALL MOUNTAIN OPEN: Faroz Marzoki

    CYCLOCROSS OPEN: Bastian Dohling

    MTB JUNIOR A: Arfan Faisal

    MTB JUNIOR B: Edmond Chew

    MTB MASTERS: Mohamad Khaniz Omar

    MTB OPEN: Riyadh Hakim Lukman

    MTB SUPERMASTERS: Massimo Nanni

    WOMEN'S MTB ELITE: Tsalina Phang

  • All men unless otherwise stated

Hing was formerly the SCF's honorary secretary from 2015 till this year, under previous president Jeffrey Goh. The latter is now a patron of the association.

Hing added: "The first year after we took over was spent improving the governance.

"In the second year, a few of us formulated an amateur plan to the best of our ability to identify riders, send them for races and overseas training, but it was never very organised because as much as we tried, we've never done it before ourselves. But we still managed to get quite a good result based on what little that we had."

At the August SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, the Republic's three cycling medals were won by Calvin Sim (men's omnium gold), Luo Yiwei (women's omnium silver) and Mohamed Elyas Mohamed Yusoff (men's 1km bronze).

All three are likely to be nominated to compete at next year's Asian Games in Indonesia, where Hing is hopeful of a top-six finish.

He revealed that there are candidates being considered for the technical director position, but declined to elaborate as he noted that the SCF must first ensure it has sufficient funds before making any offers.

SCF received just under $400,000 in funding from SportSG for the 2017 financial year, excluding spexScholarships and individual grants for athletes.

"This individual has to come into Singapore, understand our systems and our local limitations of not having a track or mountains, and come up with a plan from identifying individuals to training them and sending them for the right races," he added, noting that countries such as Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong had "more than qualified coaches" who have already trained athletes and implemented a system for athletes to qualify for the Olympics on merit.

"It's too early to say but, if there was a fund or budget, it may be possible to negotiate with talents from overseas to help us," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2017, with the headline 'Technical director high on cycling chief's agenda'. Print Edition | Subscribe