Tan Eng Bock
As a dedicated sportsman, Tan Eng Bock has maintained his interest and passion for the sport of water polo throughout the years. After retiring in 1969, he became Singapore’s National Coach and at the same time, took on the job as Deputy President of the Singapore Swimming Association. Tan was also a member of the Singapore National Olympic Council. He believes that enjoying being part of a team and looking out for each other guarantees the team spirit which contributes towards success.
Born into a renowned water polo-playing family, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Tan would join the game. However it was a natural development after watching his father and uncles, rather than being forced to play. He and his brothers all became water polo’s leading players.
At 18 years old, Tan took part in his first Asian Games in 1954 and won Singapore’s only team gold medal. It was the start of an unforgettable career and a lifelong dedication to water polo. At 20 years old, Tan took part in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, cherishing the experience to this day. His further gold medal achievements in the SEAP Games in 1965, 1967 and 1969 are proof of his passionate commitment to the sport.
From 1970 to 1990, under Tan’s guidance, the Singapore team dominated the SEA Games. Tan won the title of Coach of the Year in 1977, and he is firmly established in the SSC Hall of Fame as a member of the Water Polo Team. He is also named as one of Singapore’s 50 Greatest Athletes. After 50 years in water polo, Tan admits he plays golf these days but his loyalty will always lie with the sport that gave him so many opportunities and so much acclaim.