Former national player Khoo elected as rugby president
New chief aims to implement three-pronged approach to take sport to the next level
First, he was a rugby player. And an excellent one, too.
Then he was named the national captain and, before even hanging up his boots, he became the general manager of the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU).
Yesterday, Terence Khoo's rugby career came full circle after he was elected as the sport's new president.
At the SRU's annual general meeting (AGM) yesterday, the 46-year-old won the vote of the fraternity to replace Low Teo Ping, who has helmed the sport for the last 11 years.
Khoo beat former banker Cheo Chai Hong on a day that saw five of 11 positions on the SRU management committee open for election - as per the SRU's constitution - with the six remaining posts to be elected next year.
As it was a secret ballot, no scores were available.
While Khoo declared that his first task is to "download information" to get up to speed with policies and plans already installed by Low, he revealed a three-pronged plan to take the sport even further.
"For a start, I'm deeply humbled. This is something which I've prepared for a lot, and campaigned for very hard," said Khoo after a two-hour AGM at the Delta Swimming Complex.
"I will not shake any trees too hard (in the short term) but, in the long term, the priorities are very clear - get more people to play the game."
Khoo aims to set a clear pathway for young players to go from schools to clubs and eventually into the national team, while also aiding clubs to improve their administrative and marketing capabilities to take rugby to the masses.
The third piece of Khoo's puzzle - and his key area of focus - is the national team.
"I will be paying particular attention to that because the health of the sport is determined by the national team," said Khoo who represented Singapore from 1988 to 2000, juggling his later playing years with duties as SRU's general manager from 1995 to 1999.
The Sheffield University law graduate worked as a director for sports business with the Singapore Sports Council (now Sport Singapore), and is now managing director of sports marketing company Enterprise Sports Group (ESG).
Khoo returns to the sport that has risen from the lows of 2005, when former SRU employee Sean Lee absconded after allegedly embezzling $1.2 million of the association's funds.
Under former president Low - who has become SRU's honorary president - the sport has seen a revival.
Singapore has hosted a series of high-profile world-class events, including the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the Super Rugby tournament.
Earlier this month, the Republic also hosted a top-level international test match between Scotland and Italy at the National Stadium, the first here in almost two decades.
Khoo believes the team in place can fill the big shoes vacated by Low.
"I don't feel particularly afraid of what needs to be done, nor am I intimidated. (Helming the sport) is not a one-man job, you have to give credit to (Low's) team - and rugby is a team game," he said.
"If you have a good team, you will be able to do good job."
Khoo's team are already in place. Only three of five positions open for election last night were contested - president, one vice-president slot and honorary treasurer.
Martin Williams beat incumbent Jonathan Leow to the vice-president position, while Lim Tuck Beng pipped Jonathan Hui to the honorary treasurer's post.
But Hui and president candidate Cheo will remain in the committee, as Cheo is the current SRU honorary secretary and Hui its assistant honorary treasurer, positions that are not up for election this year.
Shafiq Zulazmi (assistant honorary secretary) and Calven Bland (ordinary member) were unchallenged.
"It bodes well for the sport that people are coming forward and wanting to contribute towards rejuvenating the organisation," said Low, who will continue to work with Rugby Singapore, the commercial arm of the SRU.
"That, to me, is very encouraging, and I look forward to supporting them going forward."