Academy graduate Dr. Pat Tan Eng Yoon is presented with an honorary doctorate at the graduation ceremony at his undergraduate alma mater, Loughborough University, in Leicestershire, UK.
The United States Sports Academy lost a dear friend over the weekend as Dr. Patrick Tan Eng Yoon, president of the Academy’s Singapore Alumni Association, passed away on Saturday, 30 January 2010, at the age of 82. He died from injuries sustained after being struck by a car while crossing a road walking home from church.
Dr. Tan has been a prominent figure in Singapore athletics since the 1950s, when he participated in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games as a hurdler and triple jumper. A year later he won Singapore’s first gold in the first South-east Asian Peninsular Games by winning the 400 hurdles. He was also a medal winner at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA) Games. In 1955, he set a triple jump record of 47 feet, 7.5 inches that stood for 32 years.
“I’ve lost a longtime and very good friend,” said Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, who served as Tan’s sprinting coach. “I worked with him for more than 50 years in sport.”
Tan earned his Master of Sport Science Degree from the Academy in 1986. He recently received an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, where he received his undergraduate degree. He became the first international student at Loughborough to captain the school’s athletic club. He was also the first non-local to be at the top of a graduating class and to obtain an honors diploma in physical education.
After his athletic career, Tan devoted himself to coaching and administration in sport. As a track and field coach he earned Singapore’s Coach of the Year honor in 1969. In 1973 he helped establish the Singapore Sports Council, eventually serving as its executive director until 1988. In 2004, the Singapore National Olympic Council Academy named Tan to its Roll of Honor.
Tan’s son, Kenneth, told the Singapore News that his father led a full life.
“He was contented till the end. He had a good round of golf on Thursday morning, enjoyed a family dinner that night and also his favorite chocolate ice cream. His final stop was with God in church,” said Kenneth.
Tan is survived by his wife, Evelyn, 68, sons Eugene, 45, and Kenneth, 42, and daughter Sabrina, 39.
Funeral services are planned for 3 February 2010.