SEA Games marathon champ Soh signs deal with Yeo Hiap Seng
Deal with Yeo Hiap Seng will see SEA Games marathon champion front H-Two-O/Yeo's ad campaign
National marathoner Soh Rui Yong received a leg up in his hunt for Olympics qualification as the 24-year-old runner yesterday signed as a brand ambassador for local food and beverage company Yeo Hiap Seng (YHS).
As part of the deal, the reigning South-east Asia Games marathon champion will receive a five-figure sum in cash and products.
Soh (right), who will be the new face of H-Two-O/Yeo's ad campaign, will also share his hydration plans for training sessions and competitions on social media, on top of promoting the brand and its isotonic drink H-Two-O.
In a statement, YHS said the athlete's "never-give-up attitude and his perseverance to always push himself to improve" aligned him with the brand's values.
YHS Group CEO Melvin Teo said that the partnership will help him "elevate his sports performance" to reach the floodlights of Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games will be held this August.
He said: "Rui Yong is a talented and diligent athlete with a promising running career.
"(He) has proven himself on a regional stage and we are rooting for him to qualify for the coming Rio Olympics."
In his bid to be the first Singaporean to qualify for the Olympics marathon event, Soh is currently residing in the Altitude House, a new facility set up by the Singapore Sports Institute to simulate a high-altitude environment.
Soh said: "The story of a Singaporean company supporting the dreams of a Singaporean athlete is one I am very happy to be a part of.
"Including the H-Two-O/Yeo's drinks as part of my hydration regimen will definitely help me in my training and competition."
While Soh holds the title of the Republic's fastest active marathon runner at 2hrs 26min 01sec - clocked two years ago during his first 42.195km race in California, US - he has to meet the qualifying mark of 2hrs 19min by July 11 to qualify for the Olympics.
In 2014, Soh eclipsed P C Suppiah's 41-year-old 10,000m national mark of 31min 19sec at the Portland Track Festival in the US, with a time of 31min 15.95sec.
Then four months ago, the University of Oregon graduate was in California to participate in the San Jose Rock N' Roll Half Marathon, where he set a new national best of 1:07:21 to erase Mok Ying Ren's record of 1:07:29.
However, his attempt at bettering M Rameshon's 1995 national marathon best of 2:24:22, at the Fukuoka International Marathon in Japan last month, hit a road block.
Feeling discomfort in his left foot about six kilometres into the race, he tried to carry on but was eventually forced to pull out at around the 12km mark because of a recurrence of a foot injury.
Soh will next compete at the World Half Marathon Championship in Cardiff, Wales, on March 26.
He said: "I look forward to helping the Yeo's brand grow as I pursue my Olympic quest."