Edmond Pereira: My TeamSGP Athletics have the edge in Sept 25 election
TeamSGP Athletics' head believes having two SA management committee members gives them an advantage over Team Ground Up in Sept 25 election
Veteran lawyer Edmond Pereira believes the presence of two Singapore Athletics (SA) management committee members in his TeamSGP Athletics will give them an edge over rivals Team Ground Up.
The two groups are vying to replace the outgoing SA president Tang Weng Fei and his team at the national sports association's election on Sept 25.
TeamSGP Athletics' nine-person slate features Ang Peng Siong and S. Govindaraju - who are both part of Tang's management committee.
In contrast, Team Ground Up, who are helmed by Gojek Singapore general manager Lien Choong Luen, do not have any current SA management committee members.
Their vice-presidential candidate Gary Yeo resigned from his post as athletes' commission representative in March over differences with Tang's team.
Speaking on the sidelines of a virtual town-hall meeting attended by around 30 people yesterday, Pereira, 70, said of his team's blend of the old and new: "Objectively speaking, I think this will give us the edge, because we have the experience of two experienced persons in track and field management, and we have the blend of younger ones…
"But these are all words, and words are free and cheap. It's the deed that counts.
"I don't want to make comparisons, but if you want to have a clean slate, where are you going to start? From ground zero? I don't know how the fraternity is going to receive this...
"That means we have to start all over again, but in another 10 years, we will (still) be grooming up slowly. We have history, we are in a hurry, but at the same time we will be measured in our approach."
Swimming legend Ang, who is SA's current vice-president of training and selection, added that "a lot of good work has been done, it's just that it hasn't been broadcast". He also called for "consistency and continuity", highlighting that athletic success required planning two Olympic cycles ahead.
SA has been beset by controversy in recent years. A public spat between athletes Soh Rui Yong and Ashley Liew is currently being played out in court.
Two-time SEA Games marathon gold medallist Soh is also embroiled in legal proceedings with SA over comments made regarding his omission from the 2019 Games.
On the track, last December's SEA Games in the Philippines marked the first time the contingent failed to win a single gold since 1991, with SA coming under fire from Sport Singapore.
Wings Athletic Club president Jezreel Mok, who attended yesterday's town hall, said: "I felt they (TeamSGP Athletics) were non-committal on how they're going to move forward or get SA out of all these court cases."
But he added that he "especially liked" TeamSGP's Dr Robin Low, saying: "He is a from a totally different industry and he's trying to apply his expertise to athletes."
Low is the medical director at Singapore Aeromedical Centre.