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Singaporean runner Soh Rui Yong excluded from Asian Games, while Takagi Ramen stands by him

Recently, local long-distance runner Soh Rui Yong was once again excluded by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) from representing Singapore in sports.

Soh was stripe away the opportunity to represent Singapore in the upcoming Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China, from 23 September 23 to 8 October.

SNOC’s decision has sparked disappointment among many Singaporeans who question why they would “penalize” Soh for what they perceive as petty remarks.

They believe that SNOC should prioritize athletic achievements rather than social media conduct when selecting athletes.

Despite the setback, Takagi Ramen, a ramen chain, continues to show support for Soh, emphasizing that athletes should be chosen based on their potential to win medals and bring pride to the country.

Soh, a two-time SEA Games marathon champion, returned to international competition at the Cambodia SEA Games, securing a silver medal in the 10,000m race.

Despite meeting the Asian Games qualifying mark in the same distance, Mr. Soh’s name was absent from the SNOC’s latest list of successful appeals.

A spokesman for the SNOC confirmed to the Straits Times that Soh’s nomination by Singapore Athletics (SA) was considered and ultimately rejected.

The SNOC has claimed that Soh failed to honor commitments made to the council, including those following his participation at the Cambodia 2023 SEA Games.

They provided a 30-page document detailing the problematic posts from March to May 2023, and a six-page document on Soh’s comments made on a podcast by Shasi Kumar, a former professional footballer, as the Straits Times has reported.

Regarding the podcast, SNOC took issues with matters including Soh’s comment on religion, his use of an expletive during a marathon anecdote, joking about a teammate’s emotional attachment to the national anthem, his reflection on reasons for non-selection in a previous SEAG, and discussions on sportsmanship.

SNOC also had concerns about Soh’s remarks on code of conduct rules, past controversies, personal interactions, and criticism of certain social media accounts.

SNOC raised concerns over 23 posts made by Soh between March and May 2023, for example, took issue with Soh’s criticism of his fellow runner Ashley Liew, his actions of cutting holes in his singlet during the 2017 SEA Games, his response to a comment about taxpayer funding, and his references to controversies surrounding his non-selection.

In an Instagram post where Soh appeared in a photo with Workers’ Party’s Jamus Lim, a comment tagged Tan Chuan-Jin, asking whether he had unblocked Soh. Soh responded, “I prefer not to speak, if I speak I’m in big trouble.”

Takagi Ramen shows support to Mr. Soh

In the latest Facebook post, Takagi Ramen expressed its belief that athletes should be selected based on their potential to win medals and bring pride to the country.

They believed that Mr. Soh definitely Mr. Soh possesses the potential to make Singaporeans proud.

The post highlighted that factors such as Mr. Soh’s personality or how “politically correct” (PC) he is should not be considered when selecting athletes.

“That’s a criteria for politicians or Business CEOs, definitely not athletes. Singapore is already a small enough country with not enough rare and determined talents around to represent us in sports.”

Takagi Ramen renewed its S$20,000 per annual, unlimited ramen sponsorship with Mr. Soh earlier this year.

Takagi Ramen first signed Soh as an ambassador in October 2021. In Soh’s first year with Takagi Ramen, the Singapore athlete rewrote the national records for the 10,000m and the marathon.

Soh first ran 2:22:59 to rewrite his old record of 2:23:42 at the 2021 Valencia Marathon in December 2021, before running 31:12.05 to finish 10th at the England Athletics 10,000m national championships in June 2022.

Soh has credited Takagi Ramen for these breakthrough performances.


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