TODAY: Row days before Singapore team leaves for SEA Games
- From: Superbee <superb.sg@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 20:12:34 -0700 (PDT)
Row days before Singapore team leaves for SEA Games
by Ian De Cotta 09:19 AM Nov 03, 2011
SINGAPORE - A public rift has opened up between Team Singapore's chef de mission (CDM) for the 26th SEA Games, Dr Tan Eng Liang, and the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), six days before the contingent leaves for Indonesia.
In an interview with The New Paper published yesterday, Dr Tan, vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), claimed national sports association (NSA) chiefs had "no stature" at events like the Olympics, the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the SEA Games.
Dr Tan, 74, insisted that the chef de mission and team officials were the only ones responsible for athletes at such events. He dug up the controversy at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when paddler Gao Ning had to play one of his matches without a coach.
He felt STTA president Lee Bee Wah had interfered at the time when she addressed team officials and the media after Gao lost his match to Croatia's Tan Ruiwu.
Dr Tan's latest comments have raised the ire of Lee.
Responding on her Facebook page, she felt his comments "will divide Singaporeans".
"It is rather sad that the chef de mission for the Singapore contingent to the SEA Games … Dr Tan Eng Liang, has decided to bring up an issue which transpired in 2008 at this stage of the nation's preparations for a major event like the Sea Games," said Er Lee.
"Instead of rallying everyone behind our athletes, Singapore's CDM has chosen instead to raise issues which will divide Singaporeans, and which will undoubtedly open up old wounds.
"While the CDM may be responsible for the contingent during major Games, it is important to note that it is the NSAs which will face the long-term impact if there is anything which happens during such Games," Er Lee wrote.
"It is almost farcical for Dr Tan to suggest that NSA presidents have no stature at the Games.
"Is he then suggesting that all NSA presidents remain silent throughout and not step in to solve problems or issues which may arise?"
The SEA Games will be co-hosted by the Indonesian capital Jakarta and the city of Palembang from Nov 11 to 22.
There are five medals up for grabs in table tennis this year - in the men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles.
The competition will be held in Jakarta from Nov 13 to 16. Featuring a clutch of world-class players, led by women's world No 4 Feng Tianwei, Singapore's paddlers are tipped to sweep all five golds on offer.
The STTA's selection of the team for the Games was embroiled in controversy.. In July, the SNOC rejected STTA's initial selection because the best women players like Feng were not in the team.
While the NSA wanted to blood younger players, a compromise was eventually reached when the STTA picked Feng, who was originally not in the team, to go.
Dr Tan reiterated the SNOC stance in yesterday's interview that they will not consider blooding young athletes at the biennial SEA Games because the event is a major Games and NSAs have two years in between to expose their inexperienced talent.
On her Facebook page, Er Lee stated that the STTA spend time and resources grooming and preparing their athletes for major Games and, as president, she will stand up and speak her mind for what she believes is right as the funding the NSA receive comes the Singapore Sports Council is taxpayers' money.
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