SPORTING HEROES > HALL OF FAME > TAN HOWE LIANG
On 9 Sep 1960, at the Palazetto Dello Sport Hall in Rome , Tan Howe Liang (27) put Singapore on the world map when he lifted a total of 380kg in the lightweight (67.5kg) category to beat 33 rivals (except Russia 's Viktor Busheuv) for the lightweight Silver medal. As of the last century, it had remained Singapore's only Olympic medal. He was bestowed the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Service Medal) for his outstanding sport achievement.
Prior to his Olympic performance, Howe Liang had already established a world record in the Jerk (lightweight division) with a lift of 347 pounds at the 6th British Empire & Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958. The same year, he also took home a gold at the 3rd Asian Games in Tokyo . He easily lifted a gold performance at the inaugural SEAP Games in Bangkok in 1959. Tan won his second Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1962 in the middleweight division.
Tan Howe Liang is the only Singaporean who had won a medal at all the major international games - Olympics, Commonwealth, Asian and SEAP (all gold except for the Olympics). He also became the first weightlifter in the world to be awarded the International Weightlifting Federation (national honour) Gold Award in 1984 (Sunday Times 26 Jul 92). He was also awarded the IOC Pin for his medal winning performance at the Rome Olympics, 1960 (1989).
After retiring from competition, Tan proved himself to be an excellent coach. His trainee, Chua Koon Siong won a gold medal at 1st Asean Weightlifting Championship with a lift of 245 kg. which broke the Commonwealth record, then. Another trainee, Tung Chye Hong, won a silver medal at the same game. Teo Yong Joo, another of his proteges, won a SEA Games gold in 1983 & a Commonwealth Games bronze in 1986.
Tan Howe Liang was voted the 2 nd greatest athlete of the last century by the media in 1999.