SINGAPORE - National marathoner Soh Rui Yong blasted the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) in a Facebook post on Wednesday morning (June 19), in which he also maintained his version of events of the 2015 SEA Games marathon race which has led to a public dispute with fellow runner Ashley Liew.
Then, Liew had reportedly found himself with a 50m lead after 12 other runners missed a U-turn and took the wrong route. But, instead of capitalising on it, he slowed down to let his rivals catch up. Soh, who won the race - Liew finished eighth - alleges that this is not true.
In October last year, Soh disputed Liew's account of events at the 2015 race in Singapore, for which the latter was given a special award for sportsmanship by the SNOC and the Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy by the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP) in 2016.
On Wednesday, Soh said: "The (SNOC) should also be ashamed at themselves for failing to conduct a proper investigation of the truth, and choosing rather to only speak with witnesses from one side in order to back up what they want to believe.
"There are several people who saw that Ashley did not slow down, yet SNOC refused to talk to any of them to get their take on the situation.
"The SNOC has failed to stay neutral and credible in the fact-finding process, and I have lost respect for the organisation that is supposed to represent the epitome of sporting values in Singapore."
Contacted, a SNOC spokesman said: "We regret to note the derogatory and baseless remarks made by Soh Rui Yong, and fully reserve our legal rights against him. Given that the remarks are made in connection with a matter that is now pending before the State Courts, it would not be appropriate for the SNOC to provide our comments on the matter at this time. Meanwhile, we will monitor the developments in the litigation between Soh and Ashley Liew.”
The Facebook post is the latest in the saga between Soh and Liew, 32, which has resulted in the latter filing a request to the courts on Tuesday for an order to restrain Soh, 27, from making any further statements and to compel him to remove the statements that have already been published. Liew also seeks the court to compel Soh to publicly retract his statements and make a public apology.
This comes after Soh's refusal to meet the demands of a cease-and-desist letter issued by Liew's lawyer Mark Teng of That.Legal LLC on April 9.
The SNOC, through law firm Rajah & Tann, had on April 1 also served Soh a lawyer's letter with similar requests to publicly retract his views, but he did not comply.
In his Facebook post on Wednesday, Soh said he found it "disappointing that some people would rather spend all this time and energy defending their fairy-tale rather than training to be a better athlete".
He added that he was "happy" the dispute is going to court, and that he hoped "the truth (will) finally see the light of day".