At least 11 clubs and affiliates of Singapore Athletics (SA) have filed an appeal with its President Tang Weng Fei asking for a realignment and to create an inclusive Masters athletics environment in Singapore.
The appeal which TOC had seen was also sent to the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and also included Member of Parliament Fatimah Lateef, who has been actively involved with the Singapore Masters Athletics (SMA) association. She is its advisor, according to the SMA’s website.
The appeal notes several issues within the Masters’ community in the last few months which has left many Masters athletes wondering if there is a much better way to govern the needs of the community and to create a conducive environment for participation that is all-inclusive.
The crux of the appeal revolves around the Singapore Masters Athletics (SMA) handling of the Masters community in track and field in Singapore. The SMA is currently headed by former sprinter Glory Barnabas and its secretary is former athlete A Kannan.
Technically, anyone who is not actively competing as a professional or as a competitive athlete can be labelled as a Masters athlete and typically involves anyone from the aged 35 and above.
Among the reasons cited for the need of a realignment includes the SMA acting contrary to the underlying principle and ethos of Masters Athletics, specifically by introducing qualifying marks and criteria for selection to events like the Asian and World Masters.
Another reason cited is that the SMA has been non-consultative and controlling, not having had any consensus building when making decisions. The appeal notes that the SMA has insisted that it alone will make all the decisions and set standards for participation. At some point, it also disallowed Masters athletes from travelling with their spouses to the Masters events.
Other charges in the appeal include that the SMA has acted outside of its own constitution with the appointment of a Deputy President, and the said deputy president Samual Veera Singaram violating the IAAF Code of Ethics.
In fact, Mr Singaram is one of the biggest issues the community has with SMA. The appeal describes him as being “offensive and insulting”. The clubs and affiliates charged the SMA’s appointment of Deupty President as unconstitutional as the role doesn’t exist in the SMA’s Constitution, calling into question the governance of the association.
While Mr Singaram is not a former athlete, he has spent some time as a technical official with the Singapore Swimming Association. It is understood that he was also involved in multiple issues with the management team of the SSA while he was an official there. He was also involved as a volunteer of Tampines Rovers FC in the early 2000s.
Replying to the appeal in The New Paper, Mr Singaram said “SMA has been strictly told by our adviser to refute all allegations. We will reply accordingly to the parties in the next few days and hold a press conference to address the matter.”
SA is expected to discuss the issue of the appeal with its management committee today, 13 August.