Soh Rui Yong v SNOC: A brief history

Soh Rui Yong at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2018 press conference.
Soh Rui Yong at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2018 press conference.ST FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE - On Thursday (Aug 1) night, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) released a list of 585 athletes from 49 sports bound for the Nov 30-Dec 11 SEA Games in Manila.

One name was conspicuous by its absence - that of marathoner Soh Rui Yong, who won gold at the 2015 and 2017 editions of the biennial regional Games.

While Soh had cleared the qualification benchmark, the SNOC said it rejected his nomination because he had "displayed conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to".

Here is a brief summary of the disagreements between the two parties:

August 2017: At the SEA Games, Soh breaches the SNOC Team Membership Agreement by promoting his personal sponsors on social media. He is given a formal warning.

Later, he cuts multiple holes in his racing vest, which he wears on his way to his second consecutive gold medal. Singapore Athletics' attire sponsor 2XU terminates its sponsorship SA of four months later.

September 2017: A month before he is to receive $10,000 for his gold medal under the SNOC's Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme (MAP), Soh, citing a lack of support, says he does not wish to give 20 per cent to SA - a requirement under the membership agreement he signed with SNOC. He eventually relents.

October 2018: Soh disputes fellow marathoner Ashley Liew's account of his act of sportsmanship at the 2015 SEA Games - for which the latter received an international award after being nominated by the SNOC.

April 2019: The SNOC serves Soh a legal letter asking him to retract his statements about Liew and the award. Soh does not comply, and SNOC later decides to "reserve its legal rights" as Liew commences his own legal action.

June 2019: In a Facebook post, Soh accuses the SNOC of bias in his dispute with Liew.

August 2019: Soh's nomination for the 2019 SEA Games in Manila is rejected by the SNOC, which says his conduct falls short of the standards it expects of national athletes.