Singapore Athlete Appeals To SportsSG After Coach’s Suspension Is Reduced
On 1 Nov 2018, SportSG suspended a national hurdler’s coach for 2 years, after he was guilty of inappropriate behaviour during training.
But Ms Kerstin Ong recently found out that the coach only served an 8-month ban after corners were allegedly cut & the suspension period was reduced.
In an Instagram post on Saturday (27 Jun), the athlete reveals her side of the story in detail.
In her impassioned plea, she appeals to SportSG to review the way they deal with sexual assault cases and to take them more seriously.
You can read her full account here:
We summarise her key points below.
Coach behaved inappropriately in 2016
The coach involved in the incident was an apprentice national coach under the Singapore Athletics Association (SAA), training Ms Ong in 2016.
According to a complaint report, he was behaving improperly during training sessions, enough to make the hurdler feel uncomfortable.
This includes making sexual jokes and touching her inappropriately. On one instance, he smacked her buttocks while she was resting during a team physical training.
He was charged for 3 offences, including insulting the modesty of a woman, outrage of modesty of a woman and 1 count of using criminal force.
This was after the athlete was put through 7 hour-long interviews and lie-detector tests with the police.
Only served 8 months of 2 years SportSG ban
Eventually, the coach had to serve a 2-year suspension by SportSG, according to Channel News Asia (CNA).
This was after he admitted all his offences to the police, stated the athlete.
However, Ms Ong points out that SportsSG had since reduced his suspension to 1.5 years.
Furthermore, after it was backdated by 10 months, he only served 8 months of his ban, which is “unjustifiable and not transparent”, she asserted.
Athlete calling for justifiable punishment by SportSG
In her post, Ms Ong expressed how upset she is with the way SportSG dealt with her sexual assault case.
She shared that the way local authorities deal with sexual assault cases is significant in encouraging more victims to come forward. Adding that failure to properly punish perpetrators is demoralising for victims who muster up the courage to speak up.
As such, the athlete is calling for SportSG to review their verdict and urges them to take future sexual assault cases more seriously.
MS News has reached out to SportSG for a statement regarding the matter.
Kudos to athletes for bravely speaking out
Kudos to Ms Kerstin Ong for bravely coming forward with her story. We hope that this incident will spark more fair & necessary conversations about sexual harassment cases.
This is just one story in many other unheard voices, and hopefully, her story will eventually contribute to building a safer environment for female atheletes in Singapore.