Soh Rui Yong Triumphs at SCSM with a 2:40 Finish, Eyes Future Records Despite Controversies
Singapore’s national long-distance runner, Soh Rui Yong, has once again made headlines at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) on 3 Dec.
This event marked his triumphant return to marathoning after a four-year hiatus, during which he was completing his law degree at University College London.
His last marathon was in Valencia, where he set the national record of 2:22:59.
Despite a two-year break from marathon running, the 32-year-old athlete impressively finished the race in two hours, 40 minutes and 33 seconds, securing a $10,000 prize.
This remarkable performance placed him 22nd overall and 17th among male marathoners, according to Sportsplits.
His time was just 25 minutes behind the race champion, Kenyan David Barmasai Tumo, who crossed the finish line in two hours, 14 minutes and 15 seconds.
Other Singaporean runners in the ranking included Daniel Leow and Benjamin Khoo, who finished at 26th and 29th place respectively, among others.
Adding a touch of serendipity, Soh’s record-breaking time coincidentally matched the 4D Toto prize number for the second prize that week, a fact he shared himself.
In an interview with The Straits Times, Soh expressed his joy at being national champion again, highlighting the significance of his comeback to marathon running in Singapore after several years.
Soh Rui Yong’s Journey: Triumphs and Controversies
Soh is a well-known figure in Singapore’s athletic community, having won two gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games in 2015 and 2017 and breaking four national records across various distances.
His rise to fame was marked by his back-to-back SEA Games titles, making him the first Singaporean male marathoner to achieve this feat, despite nearly being expelled from the team just a week before the 2017 race.
His winning streak continued at the Singapore Marathon National Championships, where he remained undefeated in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
However, his career has not been without controversy.
He was not selected for the SEA Games in 2019 and 2022 following several disputes with the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).
This began with a public disagreement with his then-teammate, Ashley Liew, over a sportsmanship prize, leading to a defamation lawsuit that resulted in Soh having to pay $180,000 in damages, which was paid partly through crowdfunding.
Further controversy arose from a comment Soh made in 2021, seemingly disparaging army commandos.
These incidents complicated his selection for representing Singapore in subsequent games.
In 2022, Soh was initially excluded from the Hangzhou Asian Games line-up and the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia.
However, his appeal was successful, allowing him a chance to participate in the 2023 games.
“I Will Complete, If I Get Selected”
When asked about his prospects for the 2025 SEA Games in Thailand, Soh cheekily remarked that he would participate “if I get selected”.
Reflecting on his performance at the SCSM, he acknowledged that he was not yet in full marathon shape but remained optimistic about preparing for future competitions.
Wow, breaking the national record even though he was still not back in shape yet.
Maybe all that Takagi ramen these years have served him well.
Despite the controversies, Soh’s focus remains on breaking records for Singapore.
As he returns to London for his studies, he is also gearing up for the London Marathon scheduled for 24 April next year, with an ambitious goal to push the Singapore record below 2 hours and 20 minutes.
His positive outlook and determination to excel in his sport continue to drive him forward.
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