Singapore: SHF to get its first woman president |
July 22, 2004
|Singapore Hockey Federation
Singapore Hockey Federation
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By Peh Shing Huei
THE Singapore Hockey Federation will vote in its first woman president today, and she has wasted no time in outlining her immediate plans: to regain Merit status for the sport.
The immediate priority for Pennefather is to get hockey reinstated as a Merit sport.
Annabel Pennefather is the only candidate nominated for the post, as the hockey fraternity closed ranks behind one of its favourite daughters.
The 54-year-old former national player captained the side through the 1970s and was vice-president of the federation from 1992 to last year.
She said: 'I have been asked to put together a team, and there are no contests for all nine council seats.
'This unity will hopefully help us become a Merit sport again. That's the priority.'
Her four vice-presidents are Gurcharan Singh, Dalip Puri, Kong Chee Seng and Florence Chua.
The general secretary and her assistant are Stephanie Martens and Hector Gomez respectively.
Treasurer Frankie Chia and assistant Foo Siew Chin make up the new nine-man council.
The game lost its Merit status in April, when the Singapore Sports Council demoted it to 'Others' status for poor performances.
Hockey has been on the privileged list since 1993, and the downgrading was a huge financial blow.
While Merit sports get up to $2 million funding a year, those demoted can receive only up to $500,000. Core sports, the top tier, enjoy up to $3 million.
'We must improve the national teams,' she stressed. 'And since hockey is not in the next South-east Asia Games, we must find tournaments for them to prove themselves.'
Singapore last won a SEA Games gold in 1993, when the women's team triumphed at home. The men have not struck gold since 1973.
The last time hockey featured in the biennial Games in 2001, the men took silver and the women managed just bronze despite boasting six foreign talents from China.
Since then, the foreign talents have to juggle work with hockey, with work having the upper hand. But Pennefather stressed that they still have a role to play.
'We have to re-engage them, put them back on track,' she said. 'They still have five good years ahead and we need senior players as we train the young ones.'
The SHF position, which she takes over from K. Ramamoorthy, is only one of several she holds in local sports.
She is the Republic's chef-de-mission to the Athens Olympic Games, a vice-president of the Olympic Council and an SSC member.
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