Marathoner Soh Rui Yong faces disciplinary charges over media interviews, social media posts

The outgoing management committee of Singapore Athletics levelled six disciplinary charges against marathoner Soh Rui Yong on Sept 25, 2020. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Singapore Athletics (SA)'s outgoing management committee (MC) on Friday (Sept 25) kicked off disciplinary proceedings against national marathoner Soh Rui Yong for breaching its athlete code of conduct in several social media posts.

In the letter to Soh dated on Friday - the same day that a new leadership helmed by Gojek general manager Lien Choong Luen was voted into power - the outgoing MC led by former president Tang Weng Fei accused the 29-year-old of breaching the code of conduct and levelled six disciplinary charges against him.

A three-man disciplinary standing committee chaired by lawyer Mathavan Devadas has been convened to oversee the matter, said the letter.

The first charge is for "failing to obtain SA's written permission prior to providing interview(s) and/or appearance(s) and/or interaction(s) with the media" on 12 occasions from Aug 2 last year to Jan 17.

Soh also faces five other charges for his social media posts. SA said that he had "acted in a manner which was likely to affect adversely the reputation of SA, and/or in a manner likely to bring the sport into disrepute, and/or failed to exhibit good sportsmanship by respecting officials from Singapore". As a result, he had failed to "adhere to SA's integrity standards when posting on social media", said the letter.

The association previously led by Tang is currently embroiled in legal proceedings with two-time SEA Games marathon gold medallist Soh over comments made regarding his non-selection for the 2019 SEA Games.

Tang, who did not stand for re-election on Friday, insisted that it was not a planned move by the former MC to send the letter on the last day of its two-year term, explaining that it was "going through the due process".

But Soh called the charges "frivolous", saying that he felt sorry that this was how its key leaders and the MC had spent their time "at the bitter end of their tenure".

He added: "It's a blessing to the sport that they have been voted out of power."

When contacted by The Straits Times, Lien said that the team had just learnt about the matter over the weekend and are "reviewing these issues".

"As the new MC, it is our responsibility to implement and take it forward but only after we have independently reviewed the grounds for the DSC," he said.

"We would like to do it not just in isolation but more collectively with some of the other discussions with him (Soh).

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.