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Athletics body calls snap poll

Barely 10 months after the current Singapore Athletics (SA) leadership team assumed office, the association will elect its new leaders at an extraordinary general meeting (EOGM) next Friday.

Each of its 20 affiliates will have one vote and each affiliate can propose and second more than one nominee. The deadline for candidates to submit their nominations is 6pm this Friday.

Each of the 14 positions on the management committee, including the post of president, can be contested. Even if the incumbent is unchallenged, he must still submit his nomination form.

If there are 14 nominees contesting as a team, one of the members - usually the candidate standing for president or honorary secretary - will submit a list of all 14 names.

SA president Ho Mun Cheong told The Straits Times yesterday: "We sent the notice (about the EOGM) to our affiliates last week as we decided it's better to dissolve the existing management committee and elect a new one."

The call for a snap poll is believed to have been prompted by numerous disagreements over several issues, which has caused conflict within the seven-member executive committee.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Whether or not I'm included (in the new leadership set-up), it's better to start over and have a new team that can work together.

HO MUN CHEONG, Singapore Athletics president, on the need to find a new leadership team for the association.

The current exco comprises Ho, three vice-presidents - Govindasamy Balasekaran (training & selection), Loh Chan Pew (competitions organising) and R. Rajendran (finance) - honorary secretary Alexander Charles Louis, honorary assistant secretary Tan Ming Jen and honorary treasurer Alvin Phua.

Ho led his team to a landslide victory at last June's election, capturing 12 of the 14 seats on the management committee.

His predecessor, Tang Weng Fei, who served six years, had decided not to stand for election, citing the internal strife then as a key reason.

Ho, who had vowed to present a united front after being elected last year, said yesterday he was "disappointed" at the way events had turned out.

"But life still has to go on," he added. "Because of the differences (within the committee), there's a big lock and now we can't do anything. If there are conflicts and the team cannot work together, then what's the point?

"Whether or not I'm included (in the new leadership set-up), it's better to start over and have a new team that can work together."

A member of the management committee declined to elaborate on the plan for next week's EOGM but reiterated that any action taken should be done for the good of track and field in Singapore. A national athlete, who declined to be named, believes it is "unavoidable that athletes are affected in one way or another" when there is discord among the sport's leadership.