A fresh slate of six para athletes has been voted in by some 170 of their peers to be their representatives in the Singapore Para Athletes Commission (SPAC). The six are:
- Ms Nur Syahidah Alim (Archery), Chairperson
- Mr Kalai Vanen (Powerlifting), Vice-Chairperson
- Mr Jeremiah Tan (CP Football), Honorary Secretary
- Ms Alvina Neo (Shooting), Member
- Assoc Prof Mu Yuguang (Table-Tennis), Member
- Mr Mohd Ismail Hussain (Tenpin Bowling), Member
All six will serve a two-year-term of office from September 2018 to July 2020. This is the second SPAC voted in by their fellow athletes, who have to fulfill stringent criteria including participation in overseas competitions and/or major games, to be eligible to vote. A round of online elections was held in August for those who qualify to vote. It was the first time that votes were cast electronically, as opposed to the previous round, where athletes gathered physically and cast paper votes. The online voting made it more convenient for athletes of various abilities to have their voices heard.
SPAC serves as the collective voice of para athletes in Singapore. As the liaison between the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC), the Singapore National Paralympic Council (SNPC) and Singapore para athletes, SPAC seeks to represent the interests and views of para athletes as well as provide effective input into decision-making so that para athletes train and compete within a supportive and transparent system that gives them the best opportunity of reaching sporting excellence goals.
The new office-bearers recently held their first meeting and they set out their mission and long-term goal, which is to elevate the status of para athletes. SPAC Chairperson Syahidah said: “The purpose of SPAC is to be the collective voice for the para athletes. We are adopting a proactive and transparent approach to foster communication between our athletes and SDSC and SNPC.”
SPAC Vice Chairperson Kalai added: “We’d like to work towards eventually elevating the status of para athletes to be on par with our able-bodied counterparts. To achieve this, we hope to find ways to improve the athletes’ competitive attitude and help address any factors that hinder them. This requires speaking to the staff and management as well as the athletes themselves.”
“We would like to thank Pin Xiu and her team for their continuous work and leading in the 1st SPAC. We will continue our work in improving the status of our para athletes,” said Syahidah.
Members of the first SPAC are: Chairperson Ms Yip Pin Xiu (Swimming), Vice-Chairperson Mr Jovin Tan (Sailing), Honorary Secretary Ms Nurulasyiqah Taha (Boccia), Member Mr. Jason Chee (Table-tennis), Member Mr Khairul Anwar (CP Football), Member Mr Tay Wei Ming (Badminton)
Other than SPAC, Syahidah is one of seven athletes in the running for the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC)’s Athletes’ Committee. She was nominated by SNPC to be Singapore’s representative. Of the seven nominations, five will be elected by athletes taking part in the Asian Para Games, to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Voting for the APC Athletes’ Committee opens on October 4 and closes on October 11. Notably, Syahidah is the only athlete from Southeast Asia to run in the APC Athletes’ Committee. She said she is contesting the APC election to be the representative for athletes from Southeast Asia and Asia. “I am honoured to be named the candidate for Singapore. I hope that being in the Committee will enable me to provide visible representation for my fellow athletes. My experience working at SportSG and now being a TeamSG athlete will contribute to the mission of the Committee – to be the voice of Asian athletes and promote sport integration and inclusiveness in Asia.
 Members of the first SPAC are: Chairperson Ms Yip Pin Xiu (Swimming), Vice-Chairperson Mr Jovin Tan (Sailing), Honorary Secretary Ms Nurulasyiqah Taha (Boccia), Member Mr. Jason Chee (Table-tennis), Member Mr Khairul Anwar (CP Football), Member Mr Tay Wei Ming (Badminton)