SINGAPORE - A father figure who was a pillar of support for athletes, veteran sports administrator Edwin Lee will be remembered for his commitment and generosity to the local fraternity.
Lee, who was Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) treasurer, Singapore Olympic Foundation director, Singapore Taekwondo Federation (STF) and Chinese Swimming Club (CSC) president, died on Saturday (May 29) morning.
He was 65.
Swimmer Joseph Schooling said he was "heartbroken", as he paid tribute to the man he affectionately called "Uncle Edwin".
The Olympic 100m butterfly champion said: "He was a generous man who never shied away from giving back to the community. My condolences to his family and I hope they will take comfort in knowing that we are ever grateful to Uncle Edwin for his contributions and that many more will continue to benefit from his big heart for a long time to come."
Former national swimmer Gary Tan was just as saddened by the news as he recalled the time he was a 12-year-old CSC swimmer and a beneficiary of Lee's kindness more than two decades ago.
Now the National Training Centre head coach, he told The Straits Times: "CSC had organised a training camp in the United States for over 50 swimmers, and Edwin dipped into his own pocket to help fund the trip for around half of the group who needed the assistance, so that we could all improve from the programme.
"And even later on, when I became a national swimmer and was studying and training in America, we would still keep in close contact as he checked on how I was doing.
"This is the measure of the man who has helped so many athletes on a personal level and given much of his time to help different local sports."
While Lee was never a national athlete - he used to play rugby when he was studying in Australia - he nonetheless left an indelible mark on Singapore sport.
He was involved with the Singapore Table Tennis Association for over 20 years and while there, he started the sport's foreign talent scheme along with then-deputy president Terry Tan. This eventually led to Singapore earning a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics - the nation's first at the Games since weightlifter Tan Howe Liang's silver medal in 1960 - and two bronze me...