Singapore Masters Athletics (SMA) suspended by Singapore Athletics (SA)

Minister Josephine Teo in a group picture with SMA officials. Dep President Samuel on her right, President Glory Barnabas on her left, Secretary General Kannan immediately behind her and the rest of the committee members. Advisor to SMA is Fatimah Lateef, not present. Picture credit to TOC.


There was a petition launched recently to check on some violations by SMA and also a letter to Grace Fu on the same matter. The petition garnered more than 1352 signatures from the small community of masters athletes, including support from more than 10 local clubs and members and supporters from regional masters clubs.

The appeal letter to Grace Fu also triggered SA to conduct an investigation that led to the suspension of SMA from all activities except the ongoing registration of masters athletes participating in the Asian Masters Meet in Kuching in the first week of December. SMA is expected to explain its case to SA including submission of club meeting minutes, election of members etc etc as a follow up to the investigation.

The issues that led to the petition and letter to Grace Fu include:
1. Compulsory centralized training for masters athletes
2. Staying in the same hotel and spouses not allowed to accompany the athletes
3. PRs not allowed to participate (Note: this point was not in the letter to the minister)
4. Qualifying times/marks. Masters athletes that did not meet these criteria not allowed to participate
5. Masters athletes would also be judged on their attitude, character and behavior to represent Singapore

These criteria are new and not imposed by the World Masters Athletics, WMA and Asia Masters Athletics, AMA but unilaterally set by SMA.

SMA is one of more than 10 local athletic clubs that have masters membership. The biggest masters club in terms of paid membership is SMTFA. SMTFA is also the first masters club formed in Singapore. Most of the clubs are unhappy with SMA for unilaterally setting the above rules and criteria without consulting them, and furious as the rules are unnecessary and violate the ethos of WMA, AMA and the objectives of masters athletes, ie maximum participation from masters athletes including fellowship and camaraderie with their spouses.

The most critical issue is centralized training for masters athletes to raise standards of participation and to dismiss masters meets as a fun event. Masters athletes are seniors in age, and many very senior in their professions. And given the law of nature, many would have some medical conditions and in worse case scenarios some are in worse shape than para athletes. Just to be able to compete at their age and condition is already a great achievement. Pulling the ageing body to train is itself a heavy task, when the heart is willing but the body unwilling.

The standard of competition is still very high among the masters athletes at international levels, ie regional and world meets. A notable example is Bill Collins who did 12.2 sec for 100m at age 66 after recovering from muscle atrophy. Not many young men can clock this kind of time. The national, regional and world competitions on their own would set the standards of participation at a very high level, not simply for fun as the laymen would think.

Like the marathon, many would just want to compete for personal satisfaction, to have done that. I have seen uncles and aunties in their 80s and 90s struggling to compete in 5km and 10km walk. Even in their own time is no mean feat. Our local hero, uncle Kor Hong Fatt is 87 and still walking and winning gold medals, despite having gone through some serious medical conditions.

Do not dismiss masters athletes as being there for fun. Participating in masters athletic competition for personal satisfaction and goals is very trying and demands a lot of training and discipline. Try running 100m at 100 years old. Many are already struggling to keep fit in their 60s.

Masters athletic competition is real competition, keeping fit and also about making friends and having a little fun. Any seniors who think this is child play, having fun, should try to drag themselves to the track and do some running, jumping or throwing to see how they fare and whether their ageing bodies can take it.

All the masters clubs and masters athletes are hoping that at the end of this unhappy saga, more will be done for masters athletes, better organization and understanding, recognition and support from the govt, to promote healthy lifestyle and healthy living for senior citizens, tangible support like those given to para athletes, not just lip service. There are more than half a million seniors wanting to live life longer and healthier and to support ActiveSg activities.

It is high time the govt recognizes the needs of senior citizens and put the money where their mouth is.

With so many masters athletes clubs here, no one club should be allowed to set their agenda without consulting other clubs and to discriminate against other clubs especially in participation and representing Singapore in international meets.

 PS. Below are a few comments from a post in TOC on the suspension of SMA by SA.

"The man at the centre of the SMA controversy, its Deputy President Mr Samuel Veera Singaram told the Straits Times that he was taken by surprise by the suspension....

Mr Singaram is, unfortunately, no stranger to controversy.

He is known to have created issues when he was with Singapore Swimming Association as a technical official.

He was also jailed in 1994 for criminal breach of trust and cheating when he was a manager of the Sembawang Sports Club."

Just a legal question, can a person that has been jailed for CBT be allowed to hold office in a public club and also involved in fund raising and financial matters of a club?


Anonymous said...

Something terribly wrong must have been going on for years. And the culprit or culprits are getting bolder and bolder, until the tortoise's head started to show.

Anonymous said...

How come he is allowed to be elected as Dep President? The advisor sleeping?

Anonymous said...

There is definitely dirty ulterior motives in the suspension. Singaporeans demand to know why and how come almost hundred percent of the office holders are anehs from the dark south of continental Asia. There must be an investigation.

Anonymous said...

Maybe well connected. Kaki lang.

Anonymous said...

For title sake, the MP is Advisor. In reality, he is the Advisor to the MP, who has to depend on him on grassroots matters.

Anonymous said...

Sin city needs more Indian chiefs to progress. Chinese lack leadership quality and like to be led.

Anonymous said...

Sin garment very smart, knows Indians very good leadership. So many Indians appointed to top positions. More will be recruited from India to take over top positions to drive Singapore back to First World.

Emeritus Goh also wear to look like Indians.

Anonymous said...

Luckily GE coming up ... else PAPies fuck care

Virgo 49 said...

No, the main reason is that the Sinkie Chinese Leaders are using Others to control the Sinkies Chinese.

SMART ways not dirtying their hands. SPF majority Others.Even Sinkies Chinese in Top positions also boh lam pars one.

Evil Serpents also same. Uniforms Agencies also majority Others like ICA or C&E etc.

Chinkees more afraid of their Own and Sabo their Own more than they do to others.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

how come almost hundred percent of the office holders are anehs from the dark south of continental Asia. There must be an investigation.
August 22, 2019 9:24 am

This is not a problem to Singaporean Chinese. They are colour blind, and believe in meritocracy. Any colour also can as long as they are clever.

Singaporeans have no problem being led by Indians, even an Indian PM like Tharman, has many Chinese supporters.

SMA committee is proof that Singaporean Chinese are not racists and have no problem even if all the committee members are Indians. They love to be led by Indians.

Fuck the two Nairs that accused Chinese of being racists.

Anonymous said...

Agree. If Chinese are racists, why are there so many silly Chinese joining SMA, a club run by Indians and did not complain that this is racist?

Virgo 49 said...

NAIRS- No Alcohol I Resigned Synonym.


Anonymous said...

After all these years, born and bred in Singapore, actually my family has grown to accept the other two races (Malay and Indian) as brothers and sisters. Now that these two Nairs have stirred the honets' nest, we begin to think very deeply and also begin to see Indians as BLACK!

BLACK represents everything NEGATIVE, from Black Cobras to Black Magic, from Darkness to Evil.

imho said...

Give them sports and bread so they will not rebel. How come so free to join sport club ?

Anonymous said...

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean August 21, 2019 10:50 pm

他才是真正的"龙哥", 真正的老大




"镇龙"很特别,几好听 :)

Anonymous said...

Why need to be under SMA or SA or SMTFA or WMA or AMA?!?!?!

Want to compete just go & compete lah ... at most pay money for their local doctor to certify fitness & age, & medical insurance cover by their local insurer. Anyway all competitions always sign indemnity form --- you die your biz.

Take part in local marathons or biathlons or triathlons also just pay money. And records set are internationally recognised as well.

At 80+ compete is just for sports & interests sake ... like you said ... no need to represent what SMA or SA or S'pore flag or whatever. Just compete for the fun of it.

Anonymous said...

Glaringly an Outright Discrimination and BULLYING on the Oldies at the Highest Order. How can such thing ever happen during Lee Kuan Yew's time? It won't.

Conclusion: Present leadership is weak and pander to those who squeeze him by the balls.

Virgo 49 said...

Oldies kena cut CPF's contributions how many times already?

Now want to reinstate contributions.

First few batches NsMen after serving Full Circle of SAF Reservists Training posted to the SCDF for another five year training and duties

This Lau Goh one time gave NsMen currently in service more than those who had served longer.

Discrimination against the old