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Singapore Athletics Politics
  • April 13th, 2007

I was forwarded an interesting correspondence by an anonymous person about the state of our local athletics.

Bear in mind I do not know this person (I believe in free speech, thus the website has no IP logging) nor does this website endorse the article in any way, which purely reflects the view of the writer and is not representative of singaporeathletics.com’s opinion on the issue.

I’m just republishing what the person has wrote below

— MESSAGE START HERE —

Author: Anonymous

Tragedy or treachery? (Referring to this article)

Seems like 100% BOTH.

We all know that due to certain differences, the two throwers had earlier opted out of SAA’s financial support to train on their own. I think this was already a sign that things were growing sour betw the NSA and the two athletes.

What’s new any way in S’pore athletics? Look at people like Hosni and UK Shyam for instance. Lots and lots of conflicts with SAA, brick bats all over the press. Not forgetting fiasco involving the 2005 SEA games selection for the men’s 4x400m relay squad during the S’pore Open. Now even Wings AC has been implicted!

Politics, politics, politics. Petty jealousies, power struggles, cliques/sectarianism, etc. Makes one wonder why these people even bother to get involved in sports administration in the first place? Businessmen/professionals who got too much time to kill and wish to be famous? S’pore athletics are ruined at these people’s hands.

Sure, there will always be conflicts between athletes and their respective sports federations. This is normal in terms of human existence. No system is perfect, and can satisfy all critics.

However, in our case, it has been clearly nothing short of FARCICAL. And this has gone on for at least two decades. We are killing the sport.

Although Loh Lin Kok and the SAA have complied with IAAF doping regulations in their administrative actions towards Guirong and Xianhui, it appears very much a due to a course of convenience rather than due to sincere desire to better S’pore athletics. I suspect that no matter how well the two throwers complied to the whole procedure regarding supplying addresses, availability for doping tests, remaining contactable, etc., the SAA will still find something to pick on. It is just that the two ladies were too careless in the affair, and did not suspect the consequences of their attitude. They probably underestimated the lengths to which the NSA will go to ‘getting back.’

That having been said, I do not think every single person involved in SAA is ‘evil’ or incompetent or nitpicking. There are individuals who truly care for the sport’s progress and are working hard to better it. However, they appear to be all too few and all too powerless to change the status quo……for the time being, that is (let’s not get TOO pessimistic yet….)

The time is coming, and has perhaps even now come, when the tide will change. As we see more of such news-breaking controversies in the scene, these are signs that the final judgement has already begun. Too much innocent blood has been shed and the time of reckoning is surely upon us. Too many good and sincere people involved in the sport have been cut by the wayside unjustly and I believe it is only a matter of time before the perpertrators are dealt with.

But I believe an important part of this starts with the athletes themselves, esp those who have direct dealings with the association. Will you speak up when called upon (and when necessary), just as many others have before you, even though the outcome was not in their favour? Are you willing to lose your national team eligibility (if the situation so requires) in order to expose the wrong doings?

When the main resource of S’pore athletics, ie the athletes themselves, elect to be bold not only on the track/field, but also in confronting tough issues off the arena, that’s when the governing body realises that it has gone all wrong (or at the very least, the government will begin to see that who they have in power in the SAA are of questionable motives and methods).

I see the recent 2 controversies as good examples of athletes and coaches who are willing to sacrifice their rice bowls and opportunities for the greater good of the sport. They may appear to have ‘failed,’ but in fact it is success (hope u reading this Melvin and Pedro).

I can empathise with Guirong and Xianhui’s pain for having missed out on the Asian Games, where they could be medal contenders. As an athlete myself I know how hard it is to train and prepare for months but to not be allowed to compete due to off-field issues. Its like being pregnant for nearly 9 months but lose the child just days before birth. I hope they bounce back without compromising their integrity..

— MESSAGE ENDS HERE —

After reading the above, it does raise a couple of justifiable issues. With the SEA Games coming up, I’m pretty sure all the ‘drama’ will ensues soon enough.

From the new Point System selection criteria, to our ‘excellent’ facilities, to the the foreign athletes training on our fine ‘world class’ shores.

Like I’ve said before, politics ‘muddles’ the very sport we love and I would really love to see my beloved sport free from politics. But is it far fetch to think we could change it ‘overnight’ as the article has promised?

We shall see …

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Posted by Uncle Sha.
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