Singapore Athletics technical director Herrmann unconcerned by probe
Herrmann confident internal investigation on him and other officials will show up nothing
Singapore Athletics (SA) technical director Volker Herrmann brushed aside news yesterday that the athletics body president Ho Mun Cheong had set up a committee to investigate him and four other senior officials for alleged breaches of conduct.
In an e-mail sent to the SA management committee, its affiliates, national sports body Sport Singapore and the Singapore National Olympic Council yesterday, Ho announced the establishment of a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to investigate a leaked WhatsApp chat that was widely reported by the media last month.
In the undated WhatsApp conversation, SA vice-president (training and selection) Dr G Balasekaran had instructed staff to "get good evidence" to be shown to "P" - understood to be Ho - and "force him to get disciplinary action" on coaches Margaret Oh and David Yeo.
Oh and Yeo both coach national athletes, with Oh most notably grooming sprint queen Shanti Pereira into a South-east Asia Games champion, while Yeo's proteges hold both the men's and women's national pole vault records.
Herrmann was a part of the chat, and now he, Dr Balasekaran, general manager Jaime Cheong, high performance manager Ong Wan Xin, and sports development and performance senior executive Shalindran Sathiyanesan will all be investigated by the BOI.
But Herrmann, who is in Odisha, India, with the Singapore contingent at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships, told The New Paper he was not bothered by the investigation.
"Honestly, I was expecting something like this," said the German over the phone.
"There's no (basis) to accuse me or my team.
"We've always worked for the sake of athletics and the best of our athletes.
"I am absolutely not concerned about the BOI... There is nothing to find."
The members of the BOI raised some eyebrows as the three men in it - Dr Leong Lee San, Joe Yap and Terry Tan - are members of SA's management committee and ran on Ho's slate at SA's elections in June last year.
Dr Leong is the chairman of race walking, Yap is the chairman of officials, while Tan, who heads the BOI, is the chairman of tug of war.
Herrmann, who officially began work in April, said he was not worried by the BOI's make-up.
He said: "I would have (preferred) other reasonable people judge the decision... But again, it does not matter who sits on the BOI - the outcome will be the same."
Dr Balasekaran could not be reached for comment, while Cheong declined comment when contacted.
In his e-mail, Ho said the BOI will investigate the leaked WhatsApp chat to "ascertain whether there were breaches of proper and appropriate conduct by the parties concerned", and whether such actions, if established, had undermined the interests of the SA.
Ho added that the BOI will present its findings to SA's management committee, which may then refer the matter to a disciplinary committee to recommend penalties "in accordance with the SA constitution".
Ho and SA vice-president Loh Chan Pew (competitions organising) have been at loggerheads with other members of the SA management - led by Dr Balasekaran - for several months.
Their disagreements came to a head last month, when Ho called for an extraordinary general meeting to hold snap polls and elect a new management committee.
The election was called off a day before it was slated to take place.
There have also been disagreements between the management and local coaches such as Oh and Yeo, pertaining to training and competition arrangements concerning their athletes.