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Soh Rui Yong and Singapore Athletics resolve past differences, commit to ‘promote positive image of the sport’

SINGAPORE — The public spat between national marathoner Soh Rui Yong and the Singapore Athletics (SA) has come to a peaceful end on Friday (Oct 16), with the runner withdrawing all lawsuits against the national sporting association.

Singapore Athletics withdrew a media statement issued in August 2019 that said marathoner Soh Rui Yong (pictured) had breached its athletic code of conduct.

Singapore Athletics withdrew a media statement issued in August 2019 that said marathoner Soh Rui Yong (pictured) had breached its athletic code of conduct.

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SINGAPORE — The public spat between national marathoner Soh Rui Yong and the Singapore Athletics (SA) has come to a peaceful end on Friday (Oct 16), with the runner withdrawing all lawsuits against the national sporting association.

For more than a year, both sides have been lobbing fireballs at each other via social media and media statements after Soh was omitted from the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Soh, a two-time SEA Games marathon gold medallist, had sued SA’s previous management committee for defaming him on social media, and the association’s old management started disciplinary proceedings for multiple breaches of its code of conduct on the day that a new management team came onboard.

Soh, 29, wrote in a Facebook post on Friday: “After 14 months, it's nice to have the issue finally resolved! Additionally, they stood down the (in my view) frivolous disciplinary charges the old management committee launched on the final day of their term on Sept 25, 2020 as a parting gift to me.”

The athlete was responding to an apologetic statement posted by SA’s new leadership team, led by its president Lien Choong Luen, on the track-and-field governing body’s website on Friday.

Mr Lien was elected to lead SA on the pledge to resolve all outstanding legal issues, especially those involving athletes. 

On Friday, on top of discontinuing the disciplinary proceedings by the outgoing management against Soh, the new management took the step to withdraw a media statement issued on Aug 3, 2019 that said the marathoner had breached SA’s athletic code of conduct and that the SA had “had attempted to counsel and reason with him, as part of a holistic rehabilitation process”.

“(The association) extends its sincere apology to Mr Soh for any inconvenience and distress that the aforesaid statement caused him,” SA said in the latest statement.

SA also recognised Soh’s “proven track record and dedication to his craft”, and will support him “to once again don national colours and compete for Singapore against the best in the region and the world”.

The association said that Soh has agreed to withdraw and discontinue all of his lawsuits against it and he will work with SA and the Singapore National Olympic Council “to promote a positive image of the sport to the best of his ability”.

“Looking ahead, the association and Mr Soh are excited about what each can contribute to the future of the sport in Singapore.”

Soh said in response to the statement: “I now look forward to breaking new ground by becoming the first Singaporean man to qualify for the Commonwealth Games Marathon and Asian Games Marathon in 2022.”

Soh is also involved in another lawsuit with fellow Singaporean runner Ashley Liew, who had sued him last April for defamation over a contested act of sportsmanship at the 2015 SEA Games marathon final. Soh had also filed counterclaims against Liew. 

The case is still before the courts.

Related topics

Soh Rui Yong Singapore Athletics lawsuit defamation marathon

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