SA chief Tang not standing for re-election
Unhappy with internal bickering, SA president says he will not stand for re-election
Singapore Athletics (SA) will be unveiling a new chief at the end of this month, after president Tang Weng Fei announced yesterday he will not be standing for re-election.
Over the last few days, rumours were rife in the local track and field fraternity that Tang would not stand again and, in a press conference he called yesterday, Tang confirmed he would be stepping down after six years as SA chief, citing disputes within the executive committee as one of the main reasons for his decision.
"There are a lot of disagreements within the exco," revealed the 62-year-old.
"I can accept when you agree to disagree but, after your ideas aren't endorsed during the voting session, you cannot take that personally… That, I think, is the problem.
"I've thought it over and the best way is for me to step down and let a cohesive team take Singapore Athletics forward.
"For whoever wins in the upcoming election, my partings words are to never forget what we're here for.
"We're all volunteers and... we're just trying to do something we're passionate about."
Despite what is clearly a far-from-savoury end to his presidency, Tang maintained an admirable level of composure and, citing respect for his peers, he did not want to be drawn on who he believes should be his successor.
He explained: "As a good president, the important thing about governance is that you cannot just leave the association and say I've done my six years.
"I'm advising the new team, but I'll leave it to them to talk about their plans.
"It's not fair for me to say anything on their behalf."
Tang, an oil trader, could still be back in the spotlight in the not-too-distant future, especially after refusing to rule out running for positions at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) or Asian Athletics Association (AAA).
Last year, he vied for the IAAF's treasurer post, but finished second in the voting behind Spain's Jose Maria Odriozola.
For now, the former national hurdler says he's satisfied with the way SA has moved forward.
The team enjoyed a successful SEA Games on home soil last year.
Sprint queen Shanti Pereira rocked the nation when she won the women's 200m and marathon man Soh Rui Yong and women's shot put star Zhang Guirong also bagged gold medals, as the team finished the campaign with a haul of nine medals.
"I think I've done well in the last six years and it has been a rewarding journey," Tang said.
"When I came back in 2010, we started without funding and I'm glad to say now, with our financial prudence, we still maintain healthy reserves.
"The hardware of SA is also something I'm proud of… In the past, SA has moved from Ang Mo Kio to MacPherson to (Singapore) Sports School and, finally, we have something we can call the home of Singapore Athletics at the Sports Hub."
When asked what his successor would need to do to take the next step forward, the outgoing chief did not hesitate for a second.
"If you want to improve the sport, the only way is through cohesiveness," advised Tang.
"They have to work together.
"We have the best infrastructure, the best tracks, we have a home, we have funding… We have everything!
"All that's left now is for everyone to work together."
SA will unveil its new president on June 27 at its Annual General Meeting, and the prospective candidates are likely to be known by June 20, the last day for nominations.