Despite having few opportunities to compete throughout the pandemic, Soh Rui Yong trained and managed to meet the qualifying time for two events in the SEA Games as well as the 2022 Asian Games.
The runner is also the first Singaporean to have met the qualifying standard for the marathon at September's Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Hence, I read with some dismay that Soh was excluded from the Hanoi SEA Games.
Recent history shows that the gold medal haul from track and field at the SEA Games is sparse, in stark contrast to swimming.
Winning a gold medal requires an array of qualities that are very much in keeping with Olympic ideals, many of which Soh has exhibited.
Meanwhile, he has shown insight and publicly apologised for his behaviour, hence potentially opening a door for some rapprochement (Soh Rui Yong apologises to SNOC, says he 'could have been more respectful, sensitive' in raising issues, Feb 22).
While I am not a fan of his off-track antics, I wonder if the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) can put aside its current punitive stance, by magnanimously allowing Soh to compete in the 2022 SEA Games, and 2022 Asian Games.
If it reverses its decision and allows him to compete, I believe this will be a win-win situation for the local sporting fraternity and strengthen our SEA Games medal chances in track and field.
It will also signal compassion towards a very talented Singaporean, one who I believe can be harnessed to inspire future generations of athletes, instead of being sidelined in his prime. Let us not let this opportunity go to waste.
Cheng Ching Siang (Dr)