S'pore Athletics not appealing SNOC decision to omit Soh Rui Yong from 2019 SEA Games

Looks like he won't be competing for real.

Belmont Lay | August 03, 2019, 07:12 PM

Singapore Athletics (SA) will not be lodging an appeal for two-time SEA Games gold medallist national marathoner Soh Rui Yong.

This was after Soh was omitted from the 585-athlete contingent heading to the Philippines for the upcoming SEA Games.

Statement issued

In a statement issued on Friday, Aug. 2, SA said that it accepted the decision of selectors from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).

SNOC had rejected SA's nomination for Soh, 27, for the Games.

This was despite Soh having comfortably cleared the qualifying mark for the men's marathon event.

But Soh had already said earlier on Thursday he won’t be appealing.

He said: “I don’t wish to waste more time on unreasonable people at SNOC.”

Soh added that the SNOC team "have chosen to behave in such a petty manner", which "is akin to primary school playground politics".

SA acknowledges Soh's code of conduct breaches

SA, which is the national track and field body, acknowledged Soh, had "on several occasions breached SA's Athlete Code of Conduct".

SA wrote: "For his transgressions, SA had attempted to counsel and reason with him, as part of a holistic rehabilitation process, in dealing with a significant individual who matters to the sport."

SA had also temporarily suspended "further engagement" with Soh on the matter of his conduct.

This was due to the "development of legal actions between him and (teammate) Ashley Liew."

SA added: "As the matter in dealing with his conduct has yet to conclude, SA submitted its nomination for Rui Yong for the SEA Games with the view that it can be withdrawn when justifiably appropriate. SA was ready to convene the disciplinary proceedings against Rui Yong but only after due and proper process."

Soh's public spat with fellow marathoner Liew has been well-publicised.

The matter over Liew's act of sportsmanship at the 2015 SEA Games is now before the courts.

In April, the SNOC also served Soh a legal letter.

SNOC demanded Soh publicly retract allegations against Liew.

Soh had also criticised SNOC on social media over its backing of Liew.

SNOC had nominated Liew for the sportsmanship award.

SA's own code of conduct

SA has also warned it would enforce its code of conduct and take disciplinary action against any athlete.

This "may include expulsion, suspension, imposing a penalty, censure or make any order as SA deems just and equitable to do so in the circumstances", SA wrote.

Divisive move

Leaving Soh out of the SEA Games has been a divisive issue in the sports fraternity.

Both SNOC and Soh have their respective supporters.

Providing reasons for dropping Soh, the SNOC cited "numerous instances" where Soh displayed conduct that "falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour" it expects from its athletes.

Soh won the SEA Games gold in 2015 and 2017.

The SEA Games will be held in the cities of Clark, Manila and Subic from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, 2019.