Lee eyes a second stint as SSA head
SSA chief wants another stint to continue improving aquatics scene
Two years ago, former national swimmer Lee Kok Choy took the plunge and became the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) president by a whisker in its elections.
Since then, the 64-year-old and his team have been pulling hard with each stroke towards making Singapore a world-class aquatics nation by 2020, with several milestones across four disciplines - swimming, water polo, synchronised swimming and diving.
The SSA also oversees open-water swimming in Singapore.
Now, Lee is ready to swim his second lap as the leader of Singapore's aquatics fraternity.
Yesterday, at the Sports Hub Library, the former SSA secretary general and vice-president (diving) announced his intention to run again for the presidency.
"We have a vision for the future and we see a lot of progress (in the past two years)," said the country manager of Micron Semiconductor Asia.
"But what we have done is just the basics... and we need more time to continue that work.
"With that in mind, I intend to stand for re-election as the president of the Singapore Swimming Association."
He added that he is still forming his team for the next two years, but expects "one or two changes", given that an exco member may serve a maximum of eight years, or four two-year terms, under SSA's constitution.
That would mean that treasurer Sylvia Peh and Ang Peng Wee, assistant secretary general for swimming, would have to step down at the elections during the annual general meeting, which must be held by June.
Two years ago, Lee garnered 17 votes to Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua's 16 in a hotly contested election for the top post.
Contacted by The New Paper, Phua would only confirm that she would not be contesting this year's elections.
However, TNP understands that there may be challenges for at least the vice-president (water polo) and assistant secretary-general (water polo) posts.
Yesterday, Lee said: "We want to do our best to continue contributing. At this time, we would not want to say whether we have a battle or not.
"No one else has announced anything, but we would be prepared for any contest... and we definitely want to put our best foot forward."
Lee pointed out that the four disciplines have made significant strides in the past two years.
For instance, 1,150 swimmers took part in this year's SSA time trials - which has no qualifying criteria - compared to 770 two years ago.
Also, the likes of Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen are making waves on the world stage, with an Olympic medal in Rio a distinct possibility.
The men's water polo team are inching their way up the Asian stage, while the synchronised swimming team have the potential to win a medal on the continental stage, Lee added.
But he acknowledged that there's "some work to do" in diving, which was re-introduced just before the 2010 Youth Olympics.
Lee's two-year term has been marked by two major events, last year's South-east Asia Games and the World Junior Championships, which took up a lot of time and resources to organise.
If elected, Lee said his team will work on strengthening infrastructure and knowledge at the grassroots level in the next two years.
He said: "The work is still in its very early stages, we want to build the whole pathway from the learn-to-play level, all the way to the top."