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Former Singapore skipper Terence Khoo to contest rugby presidency

SINGAPORE — For the first time in over a decade, the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) will see a new leader at the helm, as former national rugby captain Terence Khoo has decided to contest for the presidency at the upcoming elections on June 20.

Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping posing for a photo with Fijian Civil Aviation Minister Sayed-Khaiyum and ESG Managing Director Terence Khoo at a sponsorship event. TODAY FILE PHOTO

Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping posing for a photo with Fijian Civil Aviation Minister Sayed-Khaiyum and ESG Managing Director Terence Khoo at a sponsorship event. TODAY FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE — For the first time in over a decade, the Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) will see a new leader at the helm, as former national rugby captain Terence Khoo has decided to contest for the presidency at the upcoming elections on June 20.

Khoo, who is the managing director of sports marketing company Enterprise Sports Group (ESG), submitted his nomination papers Tuesday (June 6). TODAY understands that a second candidate could throw his hat into the ring to challenge Khoo for the sport’s top post. While nominations for the polls closed Tuesday, the SRU could not confirm if there would be a second contender.

The SRU holds elections every year for half of the positions in the 11-man management committee.

The contest for the presidency means that SRU’s long-serving chief Low Teo Ping will have to step down. The 71-year-old, who is also the vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, had already served the maximum eight year term allowed by the SRU constitution in 2014, but was invited to serve another term then as there were no candidates for the position.

Blacks Rugby Football Club vice-president Jasper Lim said this was one of the key reasons why they decided to nominate Khoo.

“We’ve known Terence for a long time, he used to play for us too, and we think he can do the job,” he told TODAY.

“We didn’t want a situation where no one comes forward to run for the presidency, and then suddenly, at the last minute, someone unknown comes forward to contest.

“Terence also presented his plans for rugby when he met our management committee a few weeks ago. We believe he is the best candidate within the Singapore rugby community for the post.”

Bucks Rugby Football Club president Martin Williams, an ex-Singapore International who was SRU vice-president from 2006 to 2007, added: “Teo Ping has done a great job in restoring the credibility of the SRU over the past decade, and helped to bring in major rugby events to Singapore.

“He was asked to stay on as there were no credible candidates. Now that Terence has come forward, it is an opportunity for us to ensure that our sport continues to be led by credible people who have the expertise and experience to raise it to new heights.

“Terence is someone I trust, and he knows Singapore rugby.”

Khoo, who played for Singapore from 1988 to 2000, said it was the right time to come forward to serve his beloved sport.

The father of two teenage daughters, the 46-year-old said: “My kids are grown up, my business is stable, and we’re now financially comfortable. So now I have time to serve, and to give back to the sport which has given me so much.”

Khoo, who was SRU’s general manager from 1995 to 1999, had also worked as a director for sports business with the then-Singapore Sports Council before he left to set up ESG. The company is the exclusive commercial agency for the Badminton World Federation (BWF), and has also worked with the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, Singapore Swimming Association, SNOC, Cold Storage and OSIM.

“Teo Ping has created a good legacy for the SRU, and has brought in money for the sport through Rugby Singapore,” said Khoo, referring to the SRU’s events and commercial arm.

“I want to build on that. I also want to build up the local club scene and help the clubs to create their own academies so that there will not only be sustainable sources of revenue for the clubs, but also pipelines to feed talent back into the clubs and the national teams.”

Since taking over the reins from former chief Chan Peng Mun in 2006, Low has revived the fortunes of a sport hit by financial woes after Sean Lee, one of its employees, syphoned S$1.2 million from its coffers in 2005 and absconded.

In 2015, Singapore won the bid to host a leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for four years. He also set up Rugby Singapore, which received an investment of over S$1 million from a French sports events company this year.

In an effort to raise the profile of the sport, it snared a deal for Japanese Super Rugby franchise the Sunwolves to play three matches here annually, as well as a historic test match on Saturday between Scotland and Italy at the National Stadium. Low could not be reached for comment yesterday. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NOAH TAN, LOW LIN FHOONG

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