In the latest in the ongoing feud between marathon athlete Soh Rui Yong and his national sports association Singapore Athletics (SA), Soh said he had no coaching help from the association in preparation for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
According to a Straits Times report on Wednesday (20 Sept), Soh said he retained his gold medal in the marathon event “without any coaching help from SA”.
Soh recently sent a protest letter to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) saying that he did not want to contribute 20 per cent of his $10,000 gold medal prize money to SA. Under the SNOC’s terms and conditions, it is mandatory for all athletes to give 20 per cent of their prize money to their National Sports Association (NSA) for the association’s training and development.
Soh told the newspaper he would rather contribute the $2,000 to his American coach Ben Rosario, adding that the bulk of the funding he received to train for the biennial games came from the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI).
SA told the Straits Times that Soh received a monthly allowance from the association – a total of $10,800 so far. SA president Ho Mun Cheong also said in earlier media reports that he had no objections to Soh keeping the $2,000 as long as SSI and SNOC agreed.
In response to media queries, SNOC said in a statement on Monday night (18 Sept), “While we acknowledge that there are currently issues in Singapore Athletics to be ironed out, SA did support their athletes financially to prepare for the SEA Games.”
On Wednesday morning, Soh also made a post on his Facebook page claiming that SA has not spent any money on the salaries of distance coaches. He wrote, “Amount Singapore Athletics has spent on the salaries of sprints head coaches/technical directors since Jan 2015: over $500,000 (monthly salary of $10,000 – $14,000 for a head coach/technical director).
“Total number of sprints gold medals won at the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games: 1 (Shanti Pereira, 200m in 2015, coached by Margaret Oh who is not paid a salary by Singapore Athletics).
“Amount Singapore Athletics has spent on the salaries of distance coaches since Jan 2015: $0.
“Total number of distance gold medals won at the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games: 2 (Soh Rui Yong, 2015 and 2017 Marathon).”