Featured News Soh Rui Yong turns down S'pore Olympic Council's request to keep mum

Soh Rui Yong turns down S’pore Olympic Council’s request to keep mum

Mr Soh said he believed that as a public entity, the SNOC should maintain high standards of accountability and transparency

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Singapore—Marathoner Soh Rui Yong is continuing his fight against the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), writing another legal letter to the effect that he does not agree to SNOC’s request to keep the matter between them a private one.

Two-time SEA Games marathon winner Mr Soh was excluded from the lineup of athletes competing in the SEA Games for this year, which is scheduled for late November-early December in Manila, Philippines.

According to the SNOC, Mr Soh “has displayed conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to.”

After the decision from the SNOC was made public, the marathoner took the battle to social media, hitting back at Singapore Athletics (SA) for not contesting the SNOC’s decision, as well as blocking him from its WhatsApp chats and social media pages.

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Mr Soh has since written two legal letters to the SNOC concerning the matter, as published on his blog, https://www.runsohfast.com.

The first letter was dated last Wednesday, August 7, which he and his legal representatives, Foxwood LLC, wrote asking the SNOC to explain why he had been excluded from this year’s SEA Games lineup despite his excellent performance in past marathons.

“On 7 August 2019, I issued a legal letter to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), seeking clarification as to why I had failed to meet the selection criteria for the 2019 SEA Games Marathon (despite running a national record of 2:23:42, more than 8 minutes faster than the stipulated qualifying mark of 2:31:52), and the specific grounds of SNOC’s decision to exclude me from the team representing Singapore at the 2019 SEA Games.”

Through its lawyers Rajah and Tann, the SNOC responded to Mr Soh the following day, asking for two provisions.

One, that they would be given “by the end of next week” to respond to Mr Soh’s letter, despite the 5:00 pm on August 13 deadline Mr Soh had asked for.

Two, for matters to be kept private between them.

Mr Soh wrote that the PNOC had asked “That future correspondence between SNOC and me on this matter were not to be publicly shared or disseminated by either party.”

In his latest update, the marathoner said that he had declined both requests for the following reasons

“1) We are unsure why they need the whole of next week to respond, given that their reasons for excluding me should already have been well-documented.

2) We believe that since SNOC has already publicly denounced me as an athlete whose recent behaviour “falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to,” without providing specific examples of when where or how this happened, they should be answerable to both these accusations as well as the subjective manner of their selection criteria which is in the matter of public interest.”

Furthermore, Mr Soh said he believed that as a public entity, the SNOC should maintain high standards of accountability.

“We remain of the view that the SNOC as a public body should be held to high standards of accountability and transparency in its decision-making process.”/ TISG

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