Singapore—Two-time SEA Games marathon winner Soh Rui Yong announced that Singapore Athletics (SA) has said it is willing to sit down with him regarding his concerns. Moreover, SA has agreed to respect Mr Soh’s wishes to meet without the presence of Malik Aljunied, SA’s Executive Director and Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) employee, against whom the marathoner had issued a writ of defamation.
The marathoner wrote in his Facebook account on September 1, “In an extension of goodwill, I have offered to meet Singapore Athletics leadership at the office of their lawyers on their proposed date of 6 Sept, Friday, 3 pm.”
Mr Soh expressed what outcome he wanted from the meeting with the sports organization.
“In this meeting, I will seek answers from SA on why they stated in the media on 2 August 2019 that I had “on several occasions breached SA’s Code of Conduct”, despite giving no basis to this accusation, and why SA continually avoided answering our questions when we pressed them for basis on their accusation.
I thank SA President Tang Weng Fei for doing the right thing and choosing to hold this meeting without Malik Aljunied. Hope we can reach an amicable solution soon!”
Mr Soh’s troubles with Singapore Athletics, an organisation that aims to strengthen and support the country’s athletes, coaches and sports officials, began in early August, when the SNOC excluded Mr Soh from the lineup of athletes who will be competing in this year’s SEA Games, scheduled for the end of the year in Manila, Philippines.
Mr Soh won the marathon at the SEA Games both in 2015 and 2017.
Singapore Athletics (SA) replied today to state that they are willing to meet me and respect my wishes to mediate the…
The SNOC said on August 1, “In the case of the nomination put forward by Singapore Athletics (SA) for Soh Rui Yong’s participation at the 2019 SEA Games, the selection committee has decided to reject SA’s nomination.
Since the 2017 SEA Games, there have been numerous instances where Soh has displayed conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to, considering that they are held up and seen as representatives of the country and as examples to our sporting youth.
As such, the SNOC has decided to reject SA’s nomination for his national representation at the 2019 SEA Games.”
Mr Soh wrote at that time, “I’m disappointed that SNOC President Tan Chuan-Jin and his team have chosen to behave in such a petty manner. This is akin to primary school playground politics where kids go ‘I don’t friend you already!’ just because you say something they don’t like.
I consider winning medals for my country at SEA Games to be a national service. Since I no longer am bound to this duty, I look forward to exploring my potential at other marathons I’ve always wanted to race at, such as the Boston Marathon.
I wish all my athletics team-mates all the best of luck in Manila and will be rooting for them always.”
The runner expressed his disappointment at his exclusion from participation in the SEA Games, as well as his dismay that SA 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.
Later, the argument progressed to legal letters between Mr Soh’s lawyers and the legal representatives of the SNOC, with the latest one having Mr Soh’s lawyers issue a letter to Mr Malik on August 19, saying that he would sue the SA executive director for what he deemed to be defamatory comments from Mr Malik on August 17 on his Facebook page.-/ TISG
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