Soh Rui Yong sends legal letters to Singapore Athletics and SNOC
Marathoner wants matters resolved in 'mutually respectful manner'
The dispute between Singapore marathoner Soh Rui Yong and the authorities has escalated, with Soh saying last night that he has sent legal letters to Singapore Athletics (SA) and the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).
"A team of lawyers from Foxwood LLC has addressed legal letters to Singapore Athletics Executive Director, Malik Aljunied, and Singapore National Olympic Council secretary general, Chris Chan, as follows," he wrote on his Facebook page.
"I invite both Malik and Singapore Athletics and Chris Chan of SNOC to step forth and resolve this in a mutually respectful manner before 13 August, 5pm. In the meantime, I reserve my rights."
The fallout was sparked last week, when the SNOC omitted Soh from Singapore's contingent of 585 athletes for the Nov 30-Dec 11 SEA Games in the Philippines.
Soh, who turned 28 on Tuesday, said he will not be appealing the decision. His omission surprised some as he had won the SEA Games gold at the last two editions, and looked poised to make it a hat-trick this year.
The SNOC said it had rejected SA's nomination for Soh, as he had, on numerous occasions, "fallen short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC holds its athletes to".
Among those instances is his public spat with teammate Ashley Liew over the latter's act of sportsmanship at the 2015 Games that is now before the courts.
SA said it accepted the SNOC's decision to reject its nomination of Soh, acknowledging that he had "on several occasions breached SA's athlete code of conduct".
"For his transgressions, SA had attempted to counsel and reason with him, as part of a holistic rehabilitation process, in dealing with a significant individual who matters to the sport," it added in a statement.
Yesterday, Soh said SA had made several allegations against him, in particular, claiming that "I had committed a series of purported 'transgressions' without giving any explanation and/or details as to the same".
He added: "The SNOC, meanwhile, has applied highly subjective, inconsistent and/or arbitrary standards in the selection process for the 2019 SEA Games and has disregarded the fundamental principles of merit-based selection which an organisation of its stature would be expected to adhere to strictly."
When contacted, both SNOC and SA said they will be seeking legal advice.
An SNOC spokesman said: "The SNOC has referred Foxwood's letter dated 7 August 2019 to our lawyers to respond to Foxwood.
"Since Mr Soh Rui Yong has seen it fit to issue a lawyer's letter to the SNOC, it is only appropriate for the SNOC to instruct our lawyers to respond to Mr Soh's lawyers instead of issuing multiple responses through separate communication channels."
SA executive director Malik said: "The Singapore Athletics management committee is reviewing the matter and taking legal advice from our lawyer."