Marathoner Soh Rui Yong, 30, accepted into prestigious UK law school, jokes he can defend himself from defamation next time

New degree can come in handy.

Belmont Lay | October 28, 2021, 06:32 PM

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Singapore champion marathoner Soh Rui Yong, 30, has been accepted into the prestigious University College London law school.

He announced this unexpected new development in a Facebook post on Oct. 26.

At the time of his announcement, Soh said he had already been attending classes online for about five weeks into the new semester.

UCL is ranked sixth in the world by Times Higher Education.

To sue people next time?

In response to Mothership's queries on why he was doing law and if he was preparing to personally sue people next time, Soh joked: "Haha! More like to defend myself from people seeking defamation suits after I call them out for lying."

He added: "In truth, I'm sick of seeing the rich and powerful come up with their own untrue stories and then lawyering up to sue anyone who disagrees with their narrative."

"That was a powerful motivation to become qualified as a lawyer -- some liars might be rich and powerful, but I will outlast them in perseverance and strategy."

Why study law now?

Soh said in his post he did not take lightly the decision of going back to school again to pursue another degree at age 30.

He revealed he had intended to study law in the National University of Singapore previously, but gave up the idea because he wanted to run competitively and make time for training back then.

Law school in Singapore, he was told then, would take up too much of his waking hours.

He added that his application this time to a foreign university was an impulse decision because he was bored.

Soh wrote:

I was getting really bored some time back with Covid-19 bringing life to a grinding halt, so I decided to apply to the top law school in London for the heck of it. I was interested in studying law back in my Raffles JC days, but seniors in National University of Singapore (NUS) Law told me that if I wanted to do well in sports, NUS Law probably wasn’t a good fit (lots of work and little sleep, apparently).

Soh also said in response to queries that his current course would take three years, which have to be completed in the United Kingdom eventually, and he would have to pass the bar back in Singapore after that, which would take at least another year to complete.

Only then will he be allowed to practise law here.

Didn't think he would qualify

Soh said in his post he did not think UCL would get back to him.

His application consisted of submitting his A-level certificate from 2009, with AAB/A grades that fell short of the AAA/A grades required to enter UCL law school, as well as his first University of Oregon business degree certificate, where he graduated magna cum laude.

To top off his application, he wrote an "impassioned" personal cover letter about how the law is sometimes abused by the rich and powerful when it can and should be a pillar of justice in society.

He then carried on with his life after submitting the application.

Thought hard about pursuing law

Soh said he received his acceptance letter and contemplated his decision to take up law while on his long running training, and decided to go for it.

Currently, he is taking the first term of school online partly due to the Covid-19 situation in the UK, and partly because he was busy with some races in Singapore, such as the Pocari Sweat 2.4km Challenge.

He has since been attending lectures and tutorials in contract, property, public and criminal law.

Soh also cited his recent crossing of paths with lawyers handling his defence in a defamation civil suit against him as inspiration to take up law.

Soh wrote that coming back to law is almost poetic: "I put aside law for running when I was 18. Funnily enough, the money I make as a professional athlete will now help pay for law school fees. Perhaps this is a journey that’s come full circle."

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Top photo via Soh Rui Yong Facebook