Mr Oon Jin Teik, Secretary-General of the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA), and Mr Jose Raymond, its vice-president of partnerships, have decided not to stand for re-election.
According to TODAY, Mr Oon, 55, decided not to seek re-election for a third two-year term at the association’s annual general meeting next month, due to his work commitments as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Singapore Sports Hub.
Mr Oon was appointed CEO in January. Before that, he was its acting chief, taking up the role following Mr Manu Sawhney’s sudden resignation in May last year.
The former national swimmer stated that it was time to allow for succession in the leadership of SSA after four years in office, saying, “I would never leave the sport of aquatics but I can’t serve and pretend to serve. I went in to help (four years ago). Now that it has stabilised, I can move on. I’m very happy with the new team (that is taking over). There is momentum now with governance and the administration.”
“We have put in place people who can grow the system. Continuation is key,” he added.
Mr Oon then talked about the very memorable moments during his tenure, mentioning the SSA hosting the 2015 Fina World Junior Swimming Championships, witnessing gold medals won on home soil at the 2015 SEA Games, and Joseph Schooling winning a historic Olympic gold for Singapore in Brazil in 2016.
Meanwhile, Mr Raymond, 46, sent a message to SSA’a affiliates on Tuesday morning, saying that he had informed SSA’s president Lee Kok Choy last December of his decision not to run for re-election because he wants to focus on his political career.
Mr Raymond used to be press secretary to former Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. He started volunteering with the Singapore People’s Party last November has taken part in the party’s activities in Potong Pasir and Bishan-Toa Payoh.
He is also deputy chairman of the Chiam See Tong Foundation, which aims to help disadvantaged children and youths realise their sporting dreams.
He wrote, “As I am devoted to spending my time on the ground and in serving the community and the country in a different platform, I would be shortchanging the SSA and Singapore swimming if I chose to stay on as a vice-president and seek re-election.”
According to TODAY, Mr Raymond’s past conflicts with SSA’s leaders and sports authorities over his public opinions on sports-related issues were also reasons for his decision not to stand for office again.
Mr Raymond had previously spoken out about matters such as the One Team Singapore Fund, which sees the Government matching donations to the national sports associations, and pointed out that details on the claims process and schedule of payouts were still unclear a year after its launch.
Mr Oon and Mr Raymond were touted as heavyweights when Mr Lee announced his slate for a fiercely fought election battle against bowling chief Jessie Phua four years ago.
Since winning the mandate of the sports affiliates, the SSA committee has overseen enhancements to its high-performance plans for swimming, diving, water polo, artistic swimming and open water swimming, among other initiatives, including the hiring of elite swimming coaches and officials such as former national head coach Sergio Lopez, who taught Schooling at Bolles School in the United States, technical director Sonya Porter, and current head coach Stephan Widmer from Australia.
In 2015, the national training centre (NTC) headed by ex-national swimmer Gary Tan was also set up to groom and develop young athletes, including up-and-coming swimmer Quah Zheng Wen and his younger sister Quah Jing Wen, who won five gold medals at last year’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
SSA president Lee, 66, who announced in January that he would be standing for a third term, is expected to reveal the members of his team this week.