S'pore Taekwondo Federation's management comm member resigns, says needs of many are neglected

The resignation comes before the STF's extraordinary general meeting next Sunday.

Kayla Wong| May 11, 12:43 AM

One of the committee members from Singapore Taekwondo Federation's (STF) top management committee has resigned.

Committee member Leon Koh had resigned on Friday, May 10, stating that "the needs of the many is (sic) becoming neglected over the needs of a few".

Has been thinking about resigning for a while

In a Mothership exclusive, Koh said that he joined the committee with the intention to serve the taekwondo community at large and raise its level of proficiency.

He added that this would not be possible with STF's suspension by global taekwondo body World Taekwondo (WT) and the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).

"The committee's role is to serve the needs of the taekwondo community, but I feel the needs of the many is (sic) becoming neglected over the needs of a few."

He added that he had been "contemplating for a while now" over his decision to resign. The STF's suspension was the "catalyst" for his decision, he said.

According to his profile on the People's Association (PA), Koh holds a 6th Dan in taekwondo.

Koh told Mothership that he has been in the taekwondo fraternity for more than 30 years, and that he has more than 20 years of taekwondo teaching experience.

He added that he would continue to coach students in taekwondo as it is his passion, and that he looks forward to the directions from SNOC.

Resignation comes before EGM

His resignation comes about a week before the STF is due to hold its Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) -- previously "Emergency General Meeting" -- next Sunday, May 19.

The meeting was called in light of the provisional suspension of the STF due to "failures of good governance and failure to receive recognition from the appropriate NOC (National Olympic Council)".

The announcement was made by WT and the SNOC on May 8.

New major Games preparation committee set up

In light of the STF's suspension, the SNOC has formed a Major Games Preparation Committee (MGPC) for taekwondo led by SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan and Singapore Sports Institute chief Toh Boon Yi.

Previously, WT has found two senior members of the STF to have breached parts of the WT Code of Ethics.

WT said in a letter dated May 8 and addressed to STF acting president David Koh, that it found “evidence of violations of the WT Code of Ethics Articles 2 (Officials) and 9 (Conflict of Interest)” by both secretary-general Wong Liang Ming and general manager Lim Teong Chin. 

Both Wong and Lim are married to each other.

New training venue & interim coach secured

Athletes have been evacuating the STF National Training Centre (NTC), where they have been training over the past years, on Friday, May 10.

A new training venue has been secured for them at the OCBC Arena located at the Sports Hub.

According to a spokesperson from SNOC, training will commence as soon as next Monday, May 13, and an interim coach will take over for the time being.

In the meantime, the MGPC is looking for a full-time national coach.

Also, the spokesperson told Mothership that the selection policy for athletes to take part in competitions will be "developed based on SNOC's selection criteria for the 30th SEA Games", which applies to all National Sports Associations (NSAs).

The criteria can be found here.

The spokesperson, however, did emphasise that while some details have been worked out, some others are still in the works.

National team satisfied with arrangements so far

26-year-old Raja Zulfadli, the Team Captain of the national team, met with the MGPC on Friday, May 10, to discuss their training programme.

He told Mothership that it was a "fruitful meeting", and that the team is "very satisfied with the proposed training programme which is very comprehensive covering areas of strength and conditioning, technical skills training and competitions". 

He added that the national team appreciates "the efforts and resources dedicated to the team", and that they will "do [their] utmost in training and representing Singapore taekwondo". 

STF says training will be held as usual

On Friday evening, May 10, a parent of an athlete, who prefers not to be named, sent the following screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation to Mothership.

According to him, the message was sent by Woon Yong Chuang, the designated poomsae (form) trainer, to parents of the taekwondo athletes training under STF. 

The name of the WhatsApp group is "New NS Parent Group".

Apparently, Woon said to the parents that training would take place as per usual the next day, which is Saturday.

This is in spite of the fact that the MGPC is taking over matters of training from the STF.

Top image via Singapore Taekwondo Federation (Official Gallery)'s Facebook