Feather in cap for S'porean sports officials appointed in kickboxing, bowling bodies

SINGAPORE – Two Singaporean sports officials had extra reason to celebrate over the festive period, after they were appointed into key roles at world governing bodies for their respective sports earlier in the week.

Jason Lim was named on the development committee of the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (Wako) while Koh Koon Teck was appointed chairman of the International Bowling Federation’s (IBF) global coach education pathway.

Both are serving their roles on initial two-year terms.

The duo join a group of Singaporeans who are currently serving in international sports bodies, including International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president Ng Ser Miang, Dr Benedict Tan, who is a member of IOC’s Medical and Scientific Commission and chair of World Sailing’s Medical Commission, and Football Association of Singapore president Lim Kia Tong and Shamsul Maidin, who are in Fifa’s disciplinary and referees committees respectively.

For Kickboxing Federation of Singapore (KFS) president Lim, 48, his global appointment came on the back of a kickboxing programme he had started in 2017 for People with Parkinson’s (PwPs) here to help them slow the onset of the nervous system disorder and achieve a better quality of life.

He is now part of a 10-strong Wako committee focused on utilising kickboxing to spearhead global developmental projects with social inclusion, through programmes such as the one Lim introduced here which has since reached over 100 PwPs.

The director of kickboxing fitness centre Active Red, said: “Wako took notice of what we did, and since they became a part of the Olympic movement (as a provisional member in 2018), there has been a move toward using the sport to reach out to the community, particularly the underprivileged.”

Wako president Roy Baker noted in a media statement: “(Lim) has done a tremendous amount of work and created socially-inclusive projects which touched many lives in different positive ways. This appointment is our affirmation towards his work and we strongly believe that his insights will be highly beneficial in our future projects within his areas of speciality.”

KFS and Wako are working together to organise the first Asian Wako conference, which is tentatively scheduled to be hosted here in June with about 120 overseas delegates.

For Koh, his appointment at the IBF appears on paper a curious one as he is more commonly associated with another sport – basketball.

The 54-year-old, an associate professor and head of the National Institute of Education’s Physical Education & Sports Science department, is the Basketball Association of Singapore’s honorary secretary. The former semi-professional player is also a member of the technical commission for world governing body International Basketball Federation (Fiba).

Koh explained that the IBF had reached out to him in August, partly based on his work with Fiba, as it wanted to implement a tiered coach education certification course.

Admitting that his lack of background in bowling meant he was limited when it came to the sport’s technical aspect, Koh said that the IBF was confident it would not affect his ability to set up the coaching framework. He added: “What I can offer them is in the area of programme design, but the technical aspect we would need to rely on the team of world class coaches and technical experts that the IBF has.”

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He added that two members on his committee also do not have a bowling background – they instead previously served in the International Hockey Federation – and said that someone from outside bowling could bring fresh eyes when faced with challenges.

Koh said the committee hopes to unveil a Level 1 coaching programme next year which will be tailored around limitations that have arisen in the new Covid-19 reality and include a significant amount of video and online elements.

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