Team Singapore

Tan family aims to build on water polo legacy

They pump in $500k to launch SOF-Tan Family Water Polo Fund

They were synonymous with Singapore water polo's success and the Tan family, led by ex-player and former Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president, Dr Tan Eng Liang, are hoping to build on that legacy with a $500,000 donation to start a development fund for the sport here.

Called the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Tan Family Water Polo Fund, it was launched yesterday at Our Tampines Hub, with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong as the guest-of-honour.

Eligible for one-to-one matching by the government, the fund aims to develop Singapore into an Asian power.

Dr Tan, 83, recalled: "Although I only had a $200 bursary in university, it helped me to pay the bus fare.

"Whatever amount you get as a national athlete is a lot, so (the fund) is just our family's small way of supporting water polo."

Tan's brothers, Eng Bock and Eng Chai, together with their uncle Hwee Hock, were a force in water polo, and played key roles in the sport's proud history here.

The Republic won a gold medal at the 1954 Asian Games, made an appearance in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and held the longest SEA Games-winning streak from 1965 to 2017.


Said Mr Tong: "The contributions made by Dr Tan Eng Liang and his family over the years to water polo and the sporting fraternity in Singapore have been significant and extensive.

"This new fund will support promising and high-performing water polo athletes, and help them achieve their sporting aspirations.

"I hope more individuals and organisations will be inspired to step forward and support our athletes as One Team Singapore."

Singapore relinquished its South-east Asian crown at the last SEA Games in the Philippines two years ago, and Dr Tan is keen to bring back the glory days.

"Let us rebuild, and in the immediate term push and continue to make water polo the pride and joy of Singapore," he said. "If you look at all the team sports in Singapore, none has a more glorious history than water polo."Interested donors can donate via the Singapore Olympic Foundation at - all cash donations are entitled to tax deduction 2.5 times the amount of the donation.

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