National marathoner Soh Rui Yong will be representing Singapore again after the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) approved his appeal to be part of the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games team.
This comes after five long years of absence from major competitions, following clashes between the two parties.
He reportedly faced a special appeals committee before receiving the green light.
According to The Straits Times (ST), Soh received the green light from SNOC to race for Singapore on Thursday (23 Mar).
He faced a special appeals committee earlier this week after being summoned from London, where he’s studying Law.
Earlier in the year, SNOC did not include Soh in its list of athletes representing Singapore at the SEA Games.
On Saturday (25 Mar), Soh reshared ST’s report of his ‘return’ with a triumphant caption,
I’ll keep this simple. We back!
MS News has reached out to Soh for confirmation and comments on the inclusion.
Soh’s troubles with the council began in 2017 when he allegedly breached an agreement by promoting personal sponsors on social media during a blackout period ahead of the then Kuala Lumpur SEA Games. For that, he received a formal warning.
The following year, he disputed fellow athlete Ashley Liew’s account of events surrounding his act of sportsmanship at the 2015 SEA Games. The act won the latter international honours and special recognition from SNOC.
Soh’s public accusation led to a long legal battle which ended with him being found guilty of defamation.
The marathoner appealed against the decision but the High Court judge dismissed his appeal in March 2022.
Shortly after the dispute with Ashley Liew began, the SNOC rejected Soh’s SEA Games Nomination in 2019.
The Council cited “numerous instances” in which Soh had fallen short of the “attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to”.
In 2022, he was again omitted from the SEA Games squad due to “unbecoming behaviour“. He allegedly challenged, mocked, and threatened organisations such as the SNOC.
Soon after, however, Soh penned an apology and expressed his desire to resolve differences in the interests of Singapore sports.
In April 2022, Soh was snubbed from the Hangzhou Asian Games contingent.
Justifying the decision, the SNOC said that the athlete had yet to “demonstrate changed behaviour and conduct” that would “enable him to meet the non-performance related standards required”.
Soh penned another apology to the SNOC in October 2022, this time for past statements that “may be seen as disparaging” to them.
Soh added that he had deleted all of these posts from April 2019, and had requested “third-party publishers” to do the same.
ST reports that the 31-year-old distance runner will likely compete in the 5,000m and 10,000 events at the upcoming SEA Games.
However, he will not be running in his signature marathon event as he did not compete in one last year.
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Featured image adapted from Soh Rui Yong on Facebook.
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