National long-distance runner, Soh Rui Yong, was asked via legal letter by the Singapore National Olympic Council to withdraw his account of the 2015 SEA Games Marathon and issue an apology by 5pm today (9 April).
The article in question, titled “2015 SEA Games Marathon – In My Words” was published on 22 June 2015 (updated in 2018) on Mr Soh’s own website, RunSohFast. In it, the two time SEA gold medallist gave a blow-by-blow account of his first gold medal win at the SEA Games Marathon 4 years ago, detailing the entire experience from the time he woke up to the entire race, one mile at a time.
In his account, Mr Soh described how just after the 5km mark – where he was near the front of the pack – there was an unexpected wrong turn. In his own words, Mr Soh said:
Coming up to what I had expected to be a U-turn point, I looked out for signs, arrows, something to indicated that we had to turn. All we saw was a bunch of marshals gathered together, but not aware that we were fast approaching. We went straight by them, and were only stopped by their yells and screams, “WRONG WAY! COME BACK!!” We all turned, and the balance of power shifted. The leaders, who were further ahead on the wrong route than everyone else, were now at the back of the pack, and the chase pack now found themselves up ahead. Teammate Ashley who had been in last place up to this point, ended up in front as we all did an about turn. Nobody slowed down to wait – the race was on.
He then described feeling angry at the turn of events but managing to level his head to focus on the mammoth task at hand. The article goes on to describe Mr Soh’s journey as he pushed hard and slowly made his way back to the front of the pack, pulling ahead from the other runners and eventually going head to head for the gold against Thailand’s Boonthung Srisung who was a 10 time SEA Games medalist in the 5,000m and 10,000m events.
Now, it’s worth noting again that this post by Mr Soh was made back in 2015. According to Mr Soh, the SNOC sent a letter to Mr Soh via their solicitors last week demanding that he take the post down and issue and apology.
In his Facebook post about the demand, Mr Soh said, “I will not back down from the truth”. He added that he had submitted a response to SNOC via his solicitors.
Mr Soh the suggested that “all of Singapore sports would be betters served if the SNOC chose to engage in dialogue with all parties involved instead of continuing to spend public resources on legal means”.
He added that as a public organisation, the SNOC should be fair to all parties even when opinions may differ. Mr Soh said, “It is more constructive to find solutions to issues as opposed to sending legal letters, which are a waste of resources better used through supporting our athletes.”
“Singapore and Singaporeans are watching”, he added.