SINGAPORE — It was a jubilant scene for Soh Rui Yong at the recent SEA Games in Cambodia when he not only won the silver medal in the 10,000m race, but also set a new national record and a personal best timing of 31:10.70s to mark his return with the national team in a major games after a five-year absence following clashes with the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).
Now Soh will once again miss out on yet another major meet, as his appeal to be included in the Team Singapore’s contingent for the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from Sep 23 to Oct 8 was rejected by SNOC, as reported by The Straits Times (ST).
SNOC’s appeals committee had convened earlier in the week to consider Singapore Athletics’ nomination for Soh. But the appeal was not successful as the committee felt Soh had ‘failed to honour commitments which he had provided to the SNOC, including on occasions following his participation at the Cambodia 2023 SEA Games.’
In a reply to ST, an SNOC spokesperson said that Soh continued to ‘disparaging and derisive remarks about others in the public domain’, and ‘the committee is not satisfied that he has changed for the better to earn selection for the Asian Games.’
Reacting calmly to this news, Soh posted on social media saying that he was surprised to receive the news and he thanked everyone for their overwhelming support. His focus now turned to another event which he is organising later in the year.
“Let’s focus on the positives. I’m organising the Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km run for the third year in a row, and it’s being recognised officially as the POCARI SWEAT 2.4km National Championships! It’s heartening to see a small event blossom into our national championships in just two years, and the public viewership and support has been instrumental to this. Thank you,” said the multiple SEA Games winner.
Soh is also a back-to-back winner of the SEA Games marathon, taking top honours in 2015 and 2017. His first marathon win was when Singapore hosted the SEA Games, with a time of 2:34:56, ahead of Thailand’s Boonthung Srisung and Vietnam’s Hoang Nguyen Thanh, who came in second and third place, respectively. Two years later, the darling of Singapore’s marathon reclaimed his gold medal at Putrajaya, Malaysia, as he clocked a time of 2:29:27.
The Workers’ Party Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong felt that Soh’s omission for the upcoming Asian Games is uncalled for and the long distance runner should be allowed to do what they do best.
“Just let sports people do their work and stop stalking them on social media. Let him who has no sin cast the first stone. So tired of such petty bans, over social media comments which most people would have missed out anyway if not for some on the throne casting judgements. I have no clue what the offending comments even are. We don’t need them to be saints, just athletes,” mentioned Yee on his Facebook.