Singapore NOC President pays tribute to ‘Mr. Water Polo’ Tan Eng Bock

Tan Eng Bock's dedication to the sport earned him the name 'Mr. Water Polo’. © The Straits Times/Lim Sin Thai
Tan Eng Bock's dedication to the sport earned him the name 'Mr. Water Polo’. © The Straits Times/Lim Sin Thai

Singapore, December 1, 2020: The President of Singapore National Olympic Council, Tan Chuan-Jin, has paid tribute to Olympian Tan Eng Bock, who passed away on November 30. He was 84.

Mr. Tan, who is the Speaker of Parliament, said in a November 30 Facebook post: “Singapore sports lost one of its stalwarts and pioneers early this morning. Olympian and former national athlete Tan Eng Bock, also known as ‘Mr. Water Polo’, died at the age of 84.”

The Singapore NOC President added: “Eng Bock and his brothers, Eng Liang and the late Eng Chai, together with their uncle Hwee Hock, were born into a family of swimmers and water polo players.

“Eng Bock was part of the gold-winning team at the 1954 Asian Games and represented Singapore at the 1956 Olympic Games – the only national water polo team to make the Games so far. In 1965, he led the team as captain to the Southeast Asian Peninsula (SEAP) Games, winning Singapore’s first SEA Games gold in water polo.

“In 1970, he became the national water polo coach and held this post for more than 20 years. He was awarded the Coach of the Year accolade in 1977 for his contributions.”

Mr. Tan also spoke of Eng Bock’s life away from the pool, and said he would be missed very much in Singapore sports circles.

“The former chief of the Criminal Investigation Department in the police force was a formidable taskmaster as chef de mission of many major Games, not only teaching Singapore athletes how to march, but also reining in any mischief. ‘I’m a disciplinarian,’ he said in an interview for a commemorative book celebrating SNOC’s 70th anniversary. ‘I tell the athletes to win and lose with honour and don’t disgrace their country with misconduct.’

“Thank you for dedicating your life to Singapore sport and water polo. Your influence has created a huge impact on many generations of athletes. We will miss you very much. Rest in peace, Eng Bock,” said Mr. Tan.