Obituary: SNOC vice-president and former taekwondo chief Milan Kwee dies at 74

SINGAPORE – Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) vice-president and veteran sports administrator Milan Kwee died on Tuesday (March 9) night. He was 74.

Kwee, who was elected as one of SNOC’s vice-presidents in 2018, had also served as the Singapore Taekwondo Federation’s president from 2004 to 2018.

Before he was elected as SNOC’s vice-president, Kwee was on the executive committee of the SNOC as a representative of the National Sports Associations (NSA), a position he held since June 2012.

He also led the Singapore contingent as the chef de mission at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where the Republic claimed a record-breaking overseas haul of 58 golds.

Kwee was part Singapore’s first taekwondo national team that competed at the inaugural 1973 World Championships.

In his time as a national athlete, Kwee bagged multiple national titles as well as a gold and silver at the first two Asian Taekwondo Championships in the late 1960s.

SNOC president and Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin was among those that paid tribute to Kwee’s contributions. He said: “We have lost a fine sportsman, friend and colleague. Rest in peace, Milan.”

Fellow SNOC vice-president Jessie Phua, who is also Singapore Bowling Federation’s president, added: “Milan is a good friend, especially with my husband Jimmy. They started taekwondo together and shared a friendship of over 50 years.

“Sport has lost a strong and committed promoter. Always friendly and helpful, my sporting colleagues and I lost a good partner. On behalf of all the NSAs, we extend our deepest condolences to the Kwee family.”

In a photo taken on Aug 16, 2017, members of Team Singapore, including chef de mission Milan Kwee (in sunglasses behind placard) sing the national anthem during the SEA Games welcome ceremony. PHOTO: ST FILE

International Olympic Committee vice-president Ng Ser Miang recalled some fond memories he and Kwee shared and noted: “To me, you were my dive master who introduce me to the joy of diving and opened my eyes to a beautiful world under the sea… To my children when they were small, you were ‘uncle shell’ who brought them beautiful shells from your dives.

“We will miss the tea, coffee and makan together and the national sports associations will miss the leader who started the chat group to support one another and drive the our national sport agenda.”

International association European Taekwondo Union posted on Facebook: “President (Sakis) Pragalos, the Council and the whole European Taekwondo Family wishes the Kwee Family strength in these difficult times. The memory of Milan Kwee will always live in all of us.”

Correction note: An earlier version of this story said that Milan Kwee died on Monday, aged 75. The SNOC has since clarified that Kwee died on Tuesday and he was 74.

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