National Runner Soh Rui Yong Calls For Transparency Through 2 Legal Letters

Looks like the controversy surrounding Soh Rui Yong‘s exclusion from the 2019 SEA Games continues to brew.

Just when you thought things have peaked after Singapore Athletics (SA) declared they won’t be appealing against the controversial decision made by Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), the tides continue to turn.

A legal battle against SA and SNOC has been set in motion by the national runner himself, as announced in his Facebook post on Wednesday (7 Aug).

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In Soh’s words, he hopes to “protect the rights of current and future athletes of Singapore, and to push Singapore sports governing bodies to more accountability and transparency.”

Legal letters sent to seek clarification

Soh, represented by Foxwood LLC, had sent legal letters to both SNOC and SA seeking “urgent clarification” on matters pertaining to his non-selection by 13 Aug, 5pm.

He was simply doing this because both SNOC and SA had reportedly accused him without giving any explanation and details of his so-called “transgressions”.

Soh also pointed out that SNOC had “applied highly subjective, inconsistent and/or arbitrary standards in the selection process for the 2019 SEA Games”.

Legal letters from Foxwood LLC’s Clarence Lun

Here’s the set of legal letters sent to SNOC’s secretary-general Mr Chris Chan, as seen on Soh’s blog.

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As for SA, here is the set of legal letters addressed to its Executive Director, Mr Malik Aljunied.

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Both letters gave 13 Aug, 5pm as the deadline for their clarification. Otherwise, Soh may be taking the case to court.

Tensions brewing since 1 Aug

Since news of Soh’s exclusion from the games caused a stir on 1 Aug, further tension ensued between the 28-year-old, SA, and SNOC until today.

Just a quick recap, SNOC stated it decided to reject Soh’s nomination to join the SEA Games because:

  • Its athletes are seen as role models for other young athletes
  • Soh’s “behaviour” since 2017 has “fallen short” of what’s expected from them

Shortly after SNOC rationalised their decision as such, SA then issued another statement saying it accepted SNOC’s reasoning.

They also acknowledged Soh had “on several occasions breached SA’s Athlete Code of Conduct”.

Both parties, however, did not elaborate beyond their given reasons.

Most Singaporeans want Soh to represent the nation

No matter the statements put up by SNOC and SA, 85% of 4,096 Singaporeans polled by MS News earlier this week still think Soh should represent Singapore in the SEA Games.

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An online petition to reinstate Soh’s position in the Singapore contingent is still ongoing since last Friday (1 Aug).

A total of 2,926 people have signed at the time of writing.

Hoping for an amicable resolution

Despite it escalating into what seems like the start of a legal battle, we hope Soh, SNOC, and SA can reach an amicable resolution soon.

How this incident plays out would set an important precedent for future national athletes. Talents are worth investing in, especially when they have what it takes to raise the standards of the country’s sporting community.

Here’s to hoping Soh gets another chance to represent Singapore and win gold in the upcoming SEA Games.

Featured image adapted from Soh Rui Yong on Facebook, SNOC on Facebook, and SA on Facebook.