2-time SEA Games marathon gold medallist Soh Rui Yong sends legal letters to SNOC & SA

Things heating up.

Belmont Lay | August 09, 2019, 04:27 AM

Who sent legal letters?

Two-time SEA Games marathon gold medallist Soh Rui Yong.

What organisations received those letters?

The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Singapore Athletics (SA) received letters separately on Wednesday, Aug. 7.

Why did Soh send out the letters?

The 27-year-old Soh wrote in a blog post on his official website that he is not appealing SNOC’s decision not to select him for the upcoming SEA Games in the Philippines.

However, he is initiating legal proceedings “to protect the rights of current and future athletes of Singapore, and to push Singapore sports governing bodies to more accountability and transparency”.

What are Soh's main gripes about SNOC?

He is accusing SNOC of applying “highly subjective, inconsistent and/ or arbitrary standards in the selection process for the 2019 SEA Games”.

Moreover, SNOC “disregarded the fundamental principles of merit-based selection which an organisation of its stature would be expected to adhere to strictly”.

What else is Soh alleging SNOC did?

Soh said he was not given a fair opportunity to defend allegations made against him by SNOC.

SNOC had said that Soh had “displayed conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to” on numerous occasions.

The legal letter by Soh said: “No formal enquiry or hearing was convened by SNOC for the purposes of deciding whether our client should have been excluded from participating in the 2019 SEA Games despite meeting the qualification criteria prescribed by it.”

What is Soh's relationship with SNOC?

Soh and SNOC have clashed publicly several times in recent years.

In April 2019, SNOC served Soh a legal letter.

It demanded that Soh retract allegations against fellow marathoner Ashley Liew over an act of sportsmanship at the 2015 SEA Games.

SNOC had nominated Liew for the Pierre de Coubertin accolade, an international sportsmanship award.

What are Soh's main gripes about SA?

The blog post by Soh said the sports association had made several allegations against him over the last few days "without giving any explanation and/ or details".

What did SA do after SNOC failed to pick Soh?

SA, in a statement a day after Soh's nomination was rejected by SNOC on Aug. 1, said that it accepted the decision and acknowledged that the marathoner had “on several occasions breached SA's Code of Conduct”.

SA also said previously that it had "temporarily suspended" communication with Soh, due to the legal case involving Soh and Liew.

What did Soh claim SA did?

Soh's legal letter disputes SA's claim and called the sports association's Aug. 2 statement "false and defamatory”.

Soh had comfortably cleared the qualifying mark for the men’s marathon event to compete in the SEA Games.

But Soh was adamant he will not be appealing SNOC's decision to drop him.

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

What are some points Soh is seeking clarification?

Soh said he is seeking clarification on four points:

1. The alleged breaches of the code,

2. The alleged transgressions,

3. Reasons for ceasing communication with Soh and

4. SA’s basis for not lodging an appeal to SNOC.

In both letters, Soh invited SNOC and SA to resolve the disputes by Aug. 13, 5pm.

Both SNOC and SA said that they are seeking advice from their lawyers