Singapore—The saga between marathoner Soh Rui Yong and the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) is still being waged via lawyers from both parties. This time, the SNOC is reminding the marathoner that he never had problems with the subjective nature of selecting athletes in the past.
Earlier this month the line-up of athletes for the 2019 SEA Games, scheduled at the end of the year in Manila, was announced, with the notable exception of Mr Soh, a two-time back to back winner of the event in 2015 and 2017, the first Singaporean male marathoner to achieve this feat.
Soh Rui Yong took exception to his exclusion from the SEA Games, which was due to having “displayed conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC (Singapore National Olympic Council) expects of and holds its athletes to.”
He also expressed his disappointment with Singapore Athletics, which did not defend him nor contest the SNOC’s decision. Later on, the runner took the battle to social media, and then found himself blocked from SA’s WhatsApp chats and social media pages.
Afterwards, Soh wrote two legal letters to the SNOC concerning the matter, as published on his blog, https://www.runsohfast.com.
And now, the SNOC has responded to the marathoner with a legal letter of its own, writing that “determinations of attitude, behaviour” and the ability to serve as an example to youths are “always subjective in nature,” and that these factors have been part of the body’s selection criteria for over 15 years.
The letter from SNOC, written via its lawyers Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, said, “No one, including your client and Singapore Athletics (SA), has ever taken issue with the inclusion of such subjective criteria.”
A copy of the letter in full may be seen on Mr Soh’s blog, runsohfast.com.
Soh expressed his disappointment with the letter from the SNOC on his Facebook page on August 18, Sunday, saying that it seems the SNOC is attempting to lay the full responsibility at the feet of Singapore Athletics.
He wrote, “On 15 August 2019, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) admitted to using irrelevant, subjective & extraneous criteria in 2019 SEA Games selection.
Additionally, SNOC has failed to give any examples or specifications as to how I have displayed “poor attitude and behaviour” as they have alleged.
SNOC claimed that SNOC President Tan Chuan-Jin had met with Singapore Athletics (SA) President (Tang Weng Fei) as well as Singapore Athletics Executive Director (Malik Aljunied) on 2 August 2019 to explain the “instances of poor attitude and behaviour that were taken into consideration”, stating that I am “at liberty to approach Singapore Athletics to ascertain what these instances are”.
In short, it seems like SNOC is trying to pass the buck to SA.” -/TISG