Team Singapore

Veteran sports official Annabel Pennefather, 72, dies

Annabel Pennefather, one of Singapore's veteran sports administrators, died on Monday (April 27) at the age of 72.

Pennefather, who came from a family with a strong sports background, was a trail-blazer on multiple fronts. 

In 1999, the former national hockey player became the first woman to be co-opted into the executive committee of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC). In 2002, she became one of its vice-presidents, before deciding not to stand for re-election in 2018.

She was also the first female president of the Singapore Hockey Federation from 2004 to 2012 and became Singapore's first woman chef de mission at the Commonwealth Games (2002) and the Olympics (2004).

Paying tribute, SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin said: “We are deeply saddened by Annabel’s passing and send our deepest condolences to her family.

"Annabel was one of the pioneer women sports administrators in Singapore and was very passionate in championing the Olympic Movement and women in sports.

"Her contribution was not limited to Singapore. She was also invited and elected to positions at the Commonwealth Games Federation, Badminton World Federation,  International Cricket Council, International Hockey Federation and World Athletics. We are grateful for all that she has poured in, and will miss her greatly.”

Pennefather's expertise as a lawyer  – she headed the sports law practice at Withers KhattarWong – experience in sports administration and passion for sports meant that she was highly sought-after by international sporting bodies. 

She served as an International Hockey Federation (FIH) vice-president, and was president of the FIH’s judicial commission. She was also on the disciplinary tribunal of the International Association of Athletics Federations, which is now known as World Athletics, and was an external judicial expert with the Badminton World Federation.

She was also appointed to the Commonwealth Games Federation ethics commission in April 2018, and was chosen to be an independent lawyer on the International Cricket Council’s Disputes Resolution Committee in October 2017.

The funeral will be held in Singapore on Monday evening.

Annabel Pennefather