SA urges Soh and Liew to seek amicable solution

The national governing body of track and field has encouraged the parties involved in the recent dispute over the 2015 SEA Games marathon to "seek an amicable solution and especially the athletes to conduct themselves in an honourable and respectable manner" in a statement yesterday.

Singapore Athletics' (SA) statement comes days after two-time SEA Games marathon champion Soh Rui Yong was served two lawyers' letters - one by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) on April 1 and another by fellow marathoner Ashley Liew on April 9 - for his statements about the 2015 SEA Games marathon.

Soh disputed Liew's account of what happened then. He alleged on social media that it was untrue that Liew slowed down to wait for his competitors who had taken the wrong route during a segment of the marathon at East Coast Park.

Liew's act earned him praise and he was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy in 2016. The SNOC had said on Tuesday it has "done all that is necessary to bring the truth of what happened during the race to light. SNOC will leave it to Mr Liew to take up the matter further with Mr Soh to vindicate Mr Liew's reputation".

Liew, 32, has engaged Mark Teng of That.Legal LLC. Business development executive Soh, 27, is represented by Eugene Thuraisingam LLP. SA said it "fully supports the decision of the SNOC in having nominated Ashley Liew for the Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy".

It added: "We trust that there was due diligence in ensuring that the criteria for the award were certainly met."

SA also acknowledged the differing perceptions in the matter and added: "(SA) will not hesitate to take disciplinary actions against any breach(es) of the Code of Conduct or behaviours which are deemed detrimental to the moral tone of athletics and/or sports."

By "moral tone", an SA spokesman said it meant principles of proper conduct and upholding the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence.

And disciplinary actions can include a verbal or written reprimand, suspension from the national team, exclusion from all SA and IAAF) events, and non-recommendations for major Games.

A spokesman added that "SA will leave it to SNOC and other involved parties, associations or federations to take the necessary actions with regard to the matter for the time being".

He said: "SA reserves the right to intervene or take the necessary actions if matters are not resolved in a manner that is appropriate."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'SA urges Soh and Liew to seek amicable solution'. Print Edition | Subscribe