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Marathoner Soh given last warning for breaching SNOC rules

SINGAPORE – Defending SEA Games gold medallist Soh Rui Yong has been sent a formal and final warning by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) for “repeatedly” breaching its rules regarding the promotion of personal sponsors on social media.

SNOC has served SEA Games gold medallist Soh Rui Yong a formal warning letter advising him to cease the infringements. TODAY File Photo

SNOC has served SEA Games gold medallist Soh Rui Yong a formal warning letter advising him to cease the infringements. TODAY File Photo

SINGAPORE Defending SEA Games gold medallist Soh Rui Yong has been sent a formal and final warning by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) for “repeatedly” breaching its rules regarding the promotion of personal sponsors on social media.

SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan said in a statement on Monday (August 14) that the marathoner had “reneged on his promises and repeatedly breached the team membership agreement” despite agreeing to remove the posts after a meeting with Team Singapore's chef-de-mission Milan Kwee, and team manager Yip Ren Kai.

As a result, Mr Toh Boon Yi, co-chairman of the Major Games Preparation Committee which has been administrating and managing the 2017 SEA Games athletics team since June met with Soh on Monday to serve him a formal warning letter advising him to cease the infringements.

The committee had taken issue with three posts on Aug 11, 12, and 13, that Soh had shared on his Facebook page promoting the brands Asics and H-Two-O, which are not sponsors of the SNOC and the 29th SEA Games.

Soh was warned that disciplinary action would be taken against him if he did not remove the posts by Monday night, 11.59pm, and that he would be expelled from the SEA Games team if he failed to comply.

Under Clause 7 of the team membership agreement, the SNOC Disciplinary Committee has the right to terminate the athlete’s team membership, require him to leave the Games, exclude him from competition, cancel or impound his Games accreditation, or impose financial penalties.

Mr Chan said: “Representing Singapore at the major Games is a privilege which many athletes hope for, but also one that must be treated with utmost respect and responsibility on the part of an athlete.

“As representatives and ambassadors of the country, there is a code of conduct which athletes and officials have to abide to. There is no exception to this. We hope Rui Yong will now focus on this preparations seriously and cooperate with the officials to get ready for the SEA Games.”

Soh told TODAY that he had co-operated with the SNOC’s request and removed the offending posts after the meeting. However, he said he was not aware that he had flouted the rules by sharing what others had posted on Facebook.

“I have been given the assurance in writing that this issue will be revisited after the SEA Games,” said Soh on Monday. “Hopefully the conclusion will be more supportive of the athletes and the difficulties they face getting funding and sponsorship.

“This definitely diminishes the (sponsorship) value of athletes, especially those competing in sports like athletics and swimming that have no visibility outside of the SEA Games and Olympic Games.

“I'm not fully funded by the government and I’m trying to make it work in Singapore where costs are high … this is making it hard for athletes like me to become full-time athletes.”

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