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Sazali Abdul Aziz
Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

Sports

Swimming: Staying ahead of the curve

The New Paper | Sazali Abdul Aziz | Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

Jessie Phua’s (seated) team for tomorrow’s Singapore Swimming Association elections. Standing from left: Samson Tan, Lau Kum Weng, Eugene Tan, Gerald Koh and Mark Chay. Absent are May Schooling and Shaun Lee.

SINGAPORE - We cannot be satisfied with the status quo.

That's the message Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) presidential candidate Jessie Phua had, as she unveiled her team at the Coleman College at Bukit Merah yesterday afternoon.

Phua, the president of the Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF), and spoke passionately for more than an hour on her plans to move the sport forward.

The 59-year-old needs to achieve a mandate from the SSA's 34 affiliates at the elections tomorrow night, to win.

Asked why she felt she needed to step in, when swimming still produces results - it mined 30 medals, 11 of them gold, at last December's South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar - she retorted: "Are you satisfied with okay?"

"That's the question we asked ourselves... Sport has changed over the years. The bar has been raised. Why do you not want to work hard to stay ahead of the curve?"

CLOSE SHAVE

She added that "the writing was on the wall" in Myanmar, after some close shaves in events Singapore traditionally won at a canter.

"When is the right time (for change)? When the one accustomed to being chased, has to do the chasing? "We don't want to panic. Let's focus on what to do right," said the former NMP and FIQ president.

"Whichever team come in on Friday, one message has run clear throughout these last few weeks: Change is abound, make no mistake about it.

"Because status quo won't do."

Said Eugene Tan, who is running as secretary general: "When I previously served on the association (as assistant secretary general) about 10 years ago, I was stunned that most swimmers were just aiming (to win at) the SEA Games.

"Now, 10 years on, my sensing is that things haven't changed."

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