S'pore Taekwondo Federation suspended, National Olympic Council to oversee SEA Games 2019 preparations

Athletes have hailed this latest development.

Andrew Koay| May 09, 12:43 AM

The Singapore Taekwondo Federation (STF) has been suspended as an affiliate of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) with immediate effect.

According to a report by The Straits Times on May 8, the SNOC will form a major games preparation committee for taekwondo in light of this suspension.

The committee, in conjunction with Sport Singapore (SportSG), will oversee the preparations of athletes for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games to be held in the Philippines at the end of the year. 

Preparations for the SEA Games include the selection and training of athletes.

The STF has also been suspended by taekwondo's global governing body -- World Taekwondo (WT).

World Taekwondo's ultimatum

According to ST, the WT contacted the STF a week before the suspension to issue an ultimatum -- either its management step down, or the STF would "face suspension over unspecified issues".

The STF subsequently responded to the WT.

The WT's website lists the STF has having been an affiliate since 1975.

SNOC had grave concerns

In the statement to ST, the SNOC noted that it had "grave concerns in the governance and high-performance management of the STF":

"It is regretful that the state of affairs at the STF has languished to its current situation. The foremost priority is to restore proper, fair and transparent systems in the governance and high performance management of Singapore taekwondo.

We hope the entire taekwondo fraternity will work together with the SNOC and SportSG in moving the sport forward."

Mass resignations

The SNOC also said that the WT had made contact in October 2018 to "express concern" over the resignations of seven STF management committee members.

The resignations had included that of long-serving president Milan Kwee.

His successor, acting president David Koh, was quoted at the time by ST as insisting that "everything was under control".

"A huge step in the right direction"

News of the STF's suspension came after Mothership published a series of articles on national taekwondo athlete Ng Ming Wei, as well as the legal action the STF has since initiated against Ng.

Earlier this month Mothership also spoke to several former and current national athletes who expressed their dissatisfaction with the national squad training conducted by the STF.

Many athletes raised concerns that training with the national squad was often akin to self-training, with one athlete alleging that she received “no proper training” in the lead-up to a major competition.

Speaking to Mothership, Ng hailed the suspension as "a huge step in the right direction for taekwondo in Singapore".

The 2015 SEA Games bronze medalist welcomed the statement as "a positive confirmation by World Taekwondo and SNOC that they are taking definitive action on these grave concerns".

"I hope that this suspension will be followed up upon with further positive action designed specifically with the welfare and development of the players in mind," Ng added.

Top image from SNOC Facebook and Ng Ming Wei Facebook