Singapore’s two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in the marathon Soh Rui Yong has earned a nomination for this year’s SEA Games in Vietnam.
However, whether he gets the nod to travel and represent Singapore would still be reliant on the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC ) selectors, and if the SEA Games takes place at all.
On 14 June, Soh posted a photo of his nomination confirmation on his Facebook account which was signed off by Gary Yeo, the Vice-President of Training and Selection of Singapore Athletics (SA).
Soh has been nominated to represent Singapore in the 1500m event and not the marathon, his pet event.
Said Soh, “I started training for the 1500m this year for the first time in eight years because we haven’t been able to travel for marathons since last year, and we haven’t had any marathons held locally.
“To earn a nomination in the 1500m is rewarding for all the work put in through the covid era.
“It’s good encouragement to keep working harder so I can represent Singapore well when the time comes.”
He had met the qualifying mark in March during a SA All Comers meet, where he clocked 4min 5.19secs, which is better than the gold medal timing of 4:06:63s achieved at the 2019 SEA Games by Vietnam’s Duong Van Thai.
In 2019, his nomination was rejected by the SNOC selectors who said that his “attitude and behaviour” fell short over the standards of attitude and behaviour the SNOC expected of its athletes.
His omission sparked a divided debate over his non-inclusion, but animosity had already been building up since 2017, after a public spat erupted between the athlete, SA and SNOC, which culminated in several legal suits.
The selection committee then was chaired by SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin and comprised vice-presidents Jessie Phua and the late Milan Kwee and Edwin Lee; Manila Games chef de mission Juliana Seow; sepak takraw president Abdul Halim Kader, badminton president Lawrence Leow; Sport Singapore chief Lim Teck Yin, SNOC athletes’ commission chairman Mark Chay, and Tan Chen Kee from the Ministry of Education.
SA did not appeal the SNOC decision to omit Soh from the SEA Games, which then denied Soh a chance to win a hattrick of marathon medals.
He was Singapore’s gold medallist in the marathon event in 2015 in Singapore (picture above) and again in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.
Photos: Soh Rui Yong