Water polo: Former Singapore skipper Eric Yeo dies at age 78

Former Singapore national water polo captain Eric Yeo died on Sunday at the age of 78, after suffering a stroke and heart attack in the morning.

He was part of the country's most successful water polo teams which captured a silver medal at the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games and a bronze four years later in Jakarta.

As a 20-year-old, Yeo was among the youngest players in the national squad that competed in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the first and only time that the Republic's water polo team featured at the Olympics.

The defender also scored one of Singapore's goals in the 5-5 draw against host Malaysia to clinch the gold medal at the 1965 South-east Asian Peninsular (Seap) Games. Singapore have been champions for every edition of the biennial competition since.

Said his national team-mate Tan Eng Bock, who retired in 1970 and handed on the captaincy to Yeo: "I've known Eric for more than 60 years and he was always a very unassuming guy. He never failed to offer his time to anyone who needed it and was always passionate about sports. He would always ask about updates on how our men and women's team was doing and was excited about the SEA Games here in June."

After his playing days ended, Yeo continued to play an active role in water polo. He coached the national team, was team manager and served as Singapore Swimming Association's vice-president for water polo.

The former Raffles Institution student was also an Assistant Superintendent of Police before he was seconded to join the Singapore Bus Service.

He leaves behind his wife of Siew Hong, 75, daughter Dr Lynn Yeo, 51, a senior consultant eye surgeon at Eagle Eye Centre and son Paul, 47, regional director at Estee Lauder Companies.

Wake prayers will be held at the Church of St Teresa in Kampong Bahru on Tuesday and Wednesday at 8pm. The funeral mass will be on Thursday at noon and the cortege will leave at 12.45pm for Mandai Crematorium Hall One for cremation at 1.45pm.

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