S'pore marathoner told not to give publicity to his own apparel sponsor this SEA Games 2017

Proceeds to give publicity anyway because fairness.

Belmont Lay | August 10, 2017, 01:26 AM

National marathoner Soh Rui Yong is Singapore's fastest marathoner of all time.

The 25-year-old clocked 2hr 24min 55sec at the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

According to marathon's world body, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that certifies marathon courses, this is the best timing for the republic ever.

Not allowed to publicise personal apparel sponsor

On Aug. 8, 2017, Soh put up a Facebook post disagreeing with the sponsorship arrangement the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) has inked in the lead-up to the upcoming Southeast Asian Games 2017.

According to Soh, Team Singapore athletes competing in the SEA Games cannot mention brands on social media posts that are not sponsors of the SNOC.

This deprives his own personal sponsor publicity. Soh's personal sponsor is not a SNOC sponsor.

Soh wrote:

Sponsorship is already hard to come by for Singaporean athletes, and this rule makes it even harder for Singapore athletes to get the sponsorship and financial support which we require to train and compete at a high level.

The 2017 SEA Games will take place in Kuala Lumpur from Aug. 19 to 30.

Gives shout out anyway to brand that rhymes with "basics"

In response, Soh gave a shout out to his personal sponsor indirectly, nonetheless:

That being said, I believe in paying homage to those who got you this far, so thank you to a Japanese shoe company that has sponsored me with shoes, attire, and many other things in my pursuit for a second gold medal in the SEA Games Marathon. Can't mention the brand name but it rhymes with basics.


Told to remove post

In a subsequent Facebook post on Aug. 9, Soh claimed he was threatened by officials to take down his Aug. 8 post.

Soh refused.

Instead, Soh thanked the official SNOC attire sponsor Yonex.

This was done to provide some parity, after he had given publicity to his own personal sponsor.

Soh also said this was the way forward for athletes by providing visibility for official and non-official sponsors.

Soh wrote:

Solution: Rather than STOPPING athletes from promoting their personal sponsors, require athletes to dedicate a social media post to SNOC sponsors for every non-SNOC sponsor they promote during the period of the Games. That way, all sponsors get more mileage which is great for both the sport and the athletes!

Highlights unfair treatment of athletes

Soh's second Facebook post also highlighted what he felt was unfair treatment of athletes.

His claim is that athletes are the ones bringing in the money in the first place and are not as well-paid as officials.

Also forgive me, an athlete, for being less than happy about athletes earning a lot less money than the officials and sponsors who agreed upon implementing this rule, many of whom sit on comfortable salaries while policing the social media activity of the very athletes that make them money in the first place. Without the athletes, many of whom pursue training and competition while living on a shoestring budget to make ends meet, sports officials wouldn't even have a job!#Rule40

Top photo via Soh Rui Yong Facebook