Tan Eng Liang Obituary, Death Cause – Tan Eng Liang, a former member of Singapore’s national water polo team and a senior sports administrator, passed away on Sunday at the age of 85. He was known as a “sporting giant” with a “heart of gold” and would be sorely mourned by his family, friends, and colleagues in the Singapore sports community. His wife Kathryn, three of their children, and five of his grandkids will go on after him.
Sunday, members of his family issued a statement in which they stated, “Our dearest father, Dr. Tan Eng Liang, passed away peacefully.” He had been undergoing treatment for an advanced form of cancer. We am overcome with sorrow because he was a kind father and grandpa who doted on his grandchildren and loved us without condition. He not only imparted to us important life lessons but also served as a model for how these ideals should be lived.
“He will be greatly missed by all of us. The all of Dad’s life was committed to helping his community, particularly in the realm of athletics. He persisted in his contributions with fortitude and bravery even though he was suffering from a sickness. He served as a model for all of us to follow. A brilliant star has gone out, yet it will burn brightly in all of our hearts forever.
Tan and his elder brothers Eng Chai and Eng Bock, who both passed away in 2020, were members of the Singapore national water polo team and competed in important competitions such as the South-east Asian Peninsular (Seap) Games and the Asian Games. Tan’s early interest in athletics was evident, and he taught his siblings how to swim in the ocean when they were small.
Because he was had to put his studies on hold in order to compete for his country in the sport of water polo at the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956, he was not successful in his quest to enroll in a medical school. He went on to win two gold medals in the Seap Games in addition to his three medals at the Asian Games (one bronze and two silvers).
Away from the water, he was the very first Rhodes scholar from Singapore. It was in 1964 that he graduated from Oxford University with a degree in chemistry. After that, he entered politics and was elected as the Member of Parliament for River Valley. After that, he served as the Minister of State for National Development from 1975 to 1978. Between the years 1979 and 1980, he served as the Senior Minister of State for Finance.
Tan’s contributions to local sport lasted even after he had retired from playing water polo professionally. He served as head of the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), which is now known as Sport Singapore, from 1975 until 1991. Following a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer in the year 2020, he stepped down from his position as vice president of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), which he had held for the previous 28 years.
Beginning with the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984, the seasoned sports executive served as the chef de mission for a total of 12 major competitions. “He was not only a sporting giant on whose shoulders we stood… he was a veritable roaring, no-nonsense giant who demanded the best not only from athletes and officials but from himself as well,” SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin said in a statement. “He was not only a sporting giant on whose shoulders we stood on.”