SINGAPORE — Singapore's top marathoner Soh Rui Yong has made an apology to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) for clashes in the past, stating that he wants to "resolve our differences and move forward in the best interests of Singapore sports".
The 30-year-old put up a Facebook post on Tuesday (22 February) acknowledging that he could have handled certain disputes in the past differently.
"I fully recognise that athletes representing Singapore should do our best to serve as a role model to our youth. In my view, that includes standing up for what is right, no matter the cost," he wrote in his post.
"However, I acknowledge that I could have handled certain disputes in the past differently. I could have been more respectful and sensitive in my approach. For that I apologise and will do better.
"Like many others, I am not a perfect person and will never be. But I recognise that by virtue of being a top Singapore athlete, I have the responsibility to serve as a role model to the rest of my country. I will do my best to live up to that duty."
Omitted from athletes list for Hanoi SEA Games
Soh was omitted from the initial list of 330 athletes selected by the SNOC for the upcoming Hanoi SEA Games, where he had already won two marathon gold medals in 2015 and 2017. He had met qualification marks for the marathon and the 1,500m track race.
SNOC said that it had rejected Singapore Athletics' nomination of Soh because his conduct "fell short of the standards of attitude and behaviour the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to".
Soh and SNOC have clashed over issues such as regulations regarding the promotion of personal sponsors at the 2017 SEA Games, and Soh's initial objection to donate 20 per cent of his $10,000 cash reward for his gold-medal win back to SA for training and development.
However, Soh said that he wrote his Facebook apology post "not to beg for a place in the SEA Games team".
"I’ve already achieved my dream of winning the SEA Games Marathon while representing Singapore - not once, but twice. There's nothing more I wish to prove," he wrote in his post.
"But I’m apologising here purely because I recognise I’ve not handled certain disputes well in the past, and I will endeavour to do better and grow into a better person in the future."
Soh, who is currently pursuing a law degree in London, has also met the qualifying mark for September's Asian Games in Hangzhou - the first Singapore marathoner to have ever done so. The SNOC has yet to make the decision on sending athletes to the Asian Games.
When contacted by Yahoo News Singapore, an SNOC spokesperson responded to Soh's apology post and said, "Our attention has been drawn to Soh’s post and apology to SNOC on his Facebook account.
"We hope he fulfils what he sets out to do, and wish him well in his future endeavours."
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