Singapore has not picked the country's fastest marathoner Soh Rui Yong for the upcoming 19th Asian Games, despite its plan to send its largest contingent of 382 athletes for the meet, comprising 482 events in 40 sports, in Hangzhou, China from Sep. 10 to 25, 2022.
According to a statement by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), Singapore Athletics had nominated Soh for the men's 10,000m event.
But SNOC said Soh is yet to meet the "non-performance related standards required" of athletes.
SNOC statement on Soh
SNOC said it had "yet to find any satisfactory evidence to demonstrate changed behaviour and conduct by Soh Rui Yong" in the aftermath of the SEA Games 2022 selection meeting.
"In the case of the nomination put forward by Singapore Athletics (SA) for Soh Rui Yong’s participation at the Asian Games, the selection committee has decided to reject SA’s nomination", an SNOC spokesperson said.
It added: "Selection of athletes representing Singapore at the major Games is a responsibility of the SNOC as stipulated in the Olympic Charter. Nominations put forward by the National Sports Associations (NSA) must comply with the Olympic Charter."
Soh meets performance standards
Soh's performance standards on the track were never in doubt.
He won gold medals in the marathon event at the 2015 and 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, but was left out of the 2019 and 2022 editions.
SNOC explained in February 2022 that Soh was excluded from the upcoming SEA Games in Hanoi because his conduct and behaviour have "continued to fall short" of the standards it expects of and holds its athletes to.
The SNOC Selection Committee is chaired by SNOC president, Tan Chuan-Jin.
The committee met on April 18 to "consider the nominations" by the national sports associations and decide on the athletes who have made the first cut.
Those who did make the first cut include swimmers Joseph Schooling, Quah Zheng Wen and Quah Ting Wen, as well as badminton players Loh Kean Yew and Yeo Jia Min.
Soh Rui Yong response
In response to the news that he was not selected to be part of the Singapore contingent for the 19th Asian Games, Soh took to Facebook to pen his response and express his disappointment.He said he did not hear back from the SNOC after issuing it a public apology after his exclusion from the upcoming Hanoi SEA Games, where he said he indicated his willingness to resolve differences and "move forward in the best interests of Singapore sports".
Soh also said he learnt about this latest exclusion from the Asian Games from the mainstream media.
He also emphasised his athletic performances are up to mark and is not the issue.
He wrote: "For clarity's sake, I had met the Asian Games qualifying marks for both the 10,000m and the marathon."
Soh also said he is working with the SA on filing an appeal "if the association decides to file one".
In the meantime, Soh proposed meeting with the SNOC officials concerned to "resolve any outstanding differences or misunderstandings so that everyone can be on the same page".
Top photo via Soh Rui Yong