Oon Jin Teik

   - From Olympian to Singapore Sports Council CEO

Mr Oon Jin Teik (Class of ’79) is yet another ACSian who has done our alma mater proud when he was recently appointed to high office as Chief Executive Office of the Singapore Sports Council (SSC). A former outstanding swimmer, he was named Sportsboy of the Year 1980 and has represented Singapore at numerous international meets, including the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Jin Teik also excelled in the performing arts as 2nd Violinist, Singapore Philharmonic Orchestra and 1st Violinist, Singapore Schools’ National Orchestra.

The affable and modest Jin Teik is thankful for the ACS brand of education that helped shape his life. An above-average student who played as hard as he studied and got himself involved in many activities, he recalls: “ Life in ACS was complete. Going beyond the paper chase, we were developed physically, socially and spiritually. This all-round education has helped me tremendously in my life and career”.

Despite his busy schedule in his new challenge at the SSC, Jin Teik found time to share with us below, some of his personal experiences in ACS and his career.

My Mentors in School

“Many teachers influenced me at different stages of my school life. I recall Mrs Teoh in Primary 1 (ACPS) and her strong yet gentle style of guiding us. And how can I forget Mrs Fong in Primary 2! She pulled my ear for a careless Maths mistake during the mid-year exams, and believe me, it was a wake up call in more sense than one!

In ACS Secondary, Mr Earnest Lau (Principal) taught us true ACS leadership, whilst Mr Wee Moh Nam (Discipline Master, Maths Teacher & Swimming Coach) taught me an important lesson in life. After my first public speech as Assistant Head Prefect (Sec 2) ended disastrously when I ‘blacked out’ in the middle of the speech, Mr Wee spent time to counsel me about public speaking, about recovering from failures in life, and about focusing on the task-at-hand. He then gave me the next public speaking opportunity, which turned out to be a success. I never looked back ever since.

In ACJC, my Physics Teacher and Swimming Coach Mr Lenn Wei Ling fine-tuned many of my attributes. With his uncanny way of doing things, he pushed me towards academic and sports excellence. As a volunteer coach at ACS Shaw Pool, he was the most deserving Singapore Coach-of-the-Year in 1984 for single-handedly guiding us (Ang Peng Siong, David Lim, my brother Jin Gee, and me) to qualify for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.”

The ACS Olympic foursome
(David Lim, Oon Jin Teik, Ang Peng Siong
and Oon Jin Gee)
with ACJC teacher
and coach Mr Lenn Wei Ling




How my swimming career started

“My parents got me started in swimming while I was in Primary 1, not with any intentions of being a national swimmer but as an exercise for good health. Subsequently, I was very fortunate to acquire my fundamental swimming skills from the late Neo Chwee Kok (former Singapore Olympian).

My first international meet was the 4th Asian Age Group Championships in Bangkok, 1973 when I was in Primary 4. As a rookie, I was too blur to be nervous and ended up with a couple of bronze medals in this first international outing. Subsequently, I went on to represent Singapore at various international meets, including the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.”

Am I a “natural” sportsman or a “nurtured” one?

“I wished I were a natural sportsman, so that I did not have to work so hard! It was sheer hard work, and I attribute my successes in the pool to the late Mr Neo Chwee Kok, Mr Wee Moh Nam (ACS), the late Mr Kee Soon Bee and Mr Lenn Wei Ling (ACJC).

During those days, I had to train twice a day. My mother would wake up at 4:30am daily and drive me to the Toa Payoh swimming pool for the 5:15am training. When it came to diet and nutrition, rest and recovery, time management and school homework, my parents and coaches drove the disciplined lifestyle that I had to adopt. There was no easy solution and no shortcuts".


The 1984 Olympic Foursome from ACS
(from left to right: Ang Peng Siong, Oon Jin Teik, David Lim & Oon Jin Gee)

Lessons in life

“With the ups and downs that I experienced in life, I have been blessed with God’s guidance and forgiveness. I have learned that the attitude I bring forth, the discipline I possess, the passion I contribute and the perseverance to complete each task are attributes for a successful and meaningful life.

Being a people-oriented and people-driven person, I also strongly believe that taking care of people is the most important thing that I’ve learned and practised. I have also learned that whilst it is important to keep up with the everchanging world, the fundamental aspects of life – God-fearing, attitude, discipline, passion and perseverance - must not change.

“For every ACSian leaving school, there are two precious assets that they should treasure: his network of ACS friends and his experience of the ACS way of life.”


The ACS foursome at the 1984 Asian Swimming Championships, where they clinched a silver and
bronze for the 4 x 100m Free and 4 x 400m
Medley relays respectively, to qualify for
the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics

The Oons' three sons: Brandon,
Alexander & Christopher

Blessed with a wonderful family!

“I have been blessed with a wonderful family. No words can describe the sacrifices my parents have made to provide for my siblings and me. My younger brother Jin Gee was also in the Singapore team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. I am also blessed with my wife Emily, who is the pillar of our family in every sense. We have three sons – Alexander (Primary 6 – ACS [Primary]), Brandon (K2) and Christopher (2 years). We try to expose them to any sports and arts activities, as long as they enjoy and have fun participating in them. By the way, you will notice that their names start with the alphabets ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’, but I would like to place on record that we do not have the intention of making it to ‘Z’!”

My Career

As an undergrad student at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where I obtained my B.Sc in Chemical Engineering and a MBA focusing on General Management, I recall a professor telling us that our training as Chemical Engineers will give us a base that will allow us to branch out into any occupation in the world. Based on my experience with the diverse organizations I have worked for thus far, he was not far from the truth.

Moving to SSC was a big challenge, and initially filled with mixed emotions. After 14 years in the private sector, first with DuPont and then with National Starch & Chemical (a member of ICI), I was quite comfortable in my career progression and I knew where I was and how I could progress further.

The Oon family at the Zoo

“I viewed the SSC job as a higher calling, one where I could utilize my business leadership and experience, sports excellence background, diverse arts and community involvement, and academic background to contribute to Sporting Singapore.”

Sports built the character attributes necessary for me to compete in the global marketplace. I don’t see why I can help my fellow Singaporeans benefit from it as well”.


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