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Singapore Athletics pledges to ensure no repeat of conflict over selection criteria between athletes and SNOC

SINGAPORE — Singapore Athletics (SA) on Thursday (Nov 5) pledged to ensure no repeat of past conflicts between athletes and the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), which selects athletes whom it deems fit for national representation.

Mr Gary Yeo (far right), Singapore Athletics' vice-president and training and selection, was part of the national teams 4x100m relay team.

Mr Gary Yeo (far right), Singapore Athletics' vice-president and training and selection, was part of the national teams 4x100m relay team.

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SINGAPORE — Singapore Athletics (SA) on Thursday (Nov 5) pledged to ensure no repeat of past conflicts between athletes and the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), which selects athletes whom it deems fit for national representation.

SA was setting out the criteria for selection for next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan during an online Zoom meeting with coaches, parents, athletes and some members of the media.

The Zoom meeting was disrupted by a hacker who displayed pornographic material to those in the meeting.

Responding to a question by TODAY on how SA plans to prevent conflicts between athletes and SNOC, SA's vice-president of training and selection Gary Yeo said that the association will “expect athletes to hold themselves to a high standard”.

SNOC coordinates the selection of Singaporean athletes for major competitions. For an athlete to qualify, SA first nominates the athlete it deems fit to represent the nation, but SNOC will make the final selection.

Last year, national marathon runner Soh Rui Yong met the qualifying standards for the marathon event and was nominated by the SA to take part in SEA Games 2019.

However, SNOC deemed that Mr Soh had “displayed conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes”, and so he was not selected.

“SA will act as the first barrier in the filter process,” Mr Yeo, who was a former national sprinter, said.

He added that there will be a due process — which includes an appeal option — to determine if the athlete has stepped out of line.

“I can promise that the athletes will get transparency (and) accountability… at the same time, athletes that step out of line will have to accept our decision to submit or to not submit to SNOC,” he added.

“Moving on, I don’t see the same situation arising again where we submit an athlete and SNOC overturns the decision.”

Separately, there will also be a feedback channel created where athletes may raise issues that it has with the association or any related matters. The names of those providing the feedback will not be known to SA’s management committee.

Members of the athletes’ commission — which is still in formation and will comprise athletes representing different track-and-field disciplines — will take charge of a new email address where athletes can send their queries and complaints.

Athletes’ commission representative Poh Seng Song, who was previously embroiled in a controversial whistleblowing spat with SA’s previous management committee, said that this new channel is to “really put all the athlete’s hearts at ease”.

“As much as possible, we want to create a feedback channel that athletes will not have reason to find questionable,” he said.

Related topics

SNOC Singapore Athletics Soh Rui Yong selection criteria

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