Team Singapore

Singapore's sporting pioneers honoured in new book

He did not have a coach, but that did not stop weightlifter Chay Weng Yew from finishing sixth at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.

Fellow weightlifter Violet Ho also paved the way for other female athletes by smashing stereotypes as a sportswoman in the 1950s.

Former academic Nick Aplin hopes to bring tales of other local athletes who have shaped the sporting landscape in Singapore to light in his latest book titled Sport In Singapore: The Colonial Legacy, which is published by Straits Times Press.

At his book launch at the Singapore Cricket Club yesterday, Aplin said: "If you're going to understand sport today, then you need to know the foundations, the roots, where it came from.

"Knowing about historical events and personalities who are successful in sport has somehow become a little bit missing and I think that people need the inspiration of seeing what people used to do in the past."

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu was the guest of honour at the book launch.

The 336-page book, which is supported by the National Heritage Board's Heritage Participation Grant, looks at the development of sport in Singapore from the 1890s until self-governance was established in 1959.

It also chronicles the struggles and achievements of Singapore's early sports stars such as shuttler Wong Peng Soon, an All-England champion, and Alice Pennefather, who excelled in badminton, tennis and hockey.

The book is available at www.stbooks.sg at $32.10 (including GST).

- KIMBERLY KWEK

Team Singapore