Soh Rui Yong Finishes in 4th Place at Men’s 5,000m in his First SEA Games After 6 Years

With the Southeast Asian (SEA) games back in Cambodia this year, there’s no doubt that Singaporeans have been following the news closely to celebrate our athletes’ achievements.

Most recently, runner Soh Rui Yong ended up with a fourth-place finish at the men’s 5,000m race yesterday (9 May).

The race, which was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, saw Thai runner Kieran Tuntivate win with a timing of 14:34.77.

The silver and bronze medals went to Sonny Wagdos of the Philippines and Robi Syianturi of Indonesia after they attained timings of 14:36.45 and 14:43.45 respectively.

In comparison, 31-year-old Soh finished the race with a timing of 14:48:4.

He had started fast but slowed down towards the end of the race.

Nonetheless, attaining fourth was still an improvement from his previous participation in the same race, which was back in 2017 for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Back then, he achieved fifth place.

On the other hand, fellow Team Singapore athlete Jeevaneesh Soundararajah clocked in a timing of 15:51:6 and ended up in fifteenth place during the race yesterday.

Soh’s First SEA Games After Scandals and Lawsuits

Soh’s run at the 5000m men’s event also marked his return to the SEA Games after six years.

It was also his first time running in a major event in more than five years.

After winning gold medals in both the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games, Soh ended up in conflict with the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC).

Other controversies Soh was involved in included defamation trials against multiple figures like runner Ashley Liew and former executive director of Singapore Athletics, Mr Syed Abdul Malik Aljunied.

He was generally unsuccessful in his lawsuits.

Apart from that, he was also not given a spot to represent Singapore in both the 2019 SEA Games in Manila and Hanoi, which were in 2019 and 2022 respectively.

Thereafter, Soh posted apology posts on his social media two times in February and October last year after not being selected for the 2022 SEA Games.

However, these apologies did not help him land a place on the team representing Singapore in the 19th Asian Games.

Selected Again This Year After Facing a Committee

Eventually, he was selected by SNOC to represent Singapore again at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia earlier this year.

The committee allowed Soh to represent the country again after he faced a special appeals committee.

Posted Online About Gratitude Towards SEA Games Opportunity

When speaking about representing Singapore in the 32nd Cambodian SEA Games on social media, Soh expressed his gratitude and excitement.

In the post, which was uploaded on 6 May, he revealed that he was “both excited and humbled” to be running in the 5,000m and 10,000m races.

“While my heart yearns for the marathon, I am determined to give my all and fight hard for the win in every race I do. In my opinion, the best I can hope for in these games is a bronze medal based on the talents of my respected opponents, but rest assured, I will push myself to the very limit for the pride of our nation,” he explained.

He then wrote about his future goal of having a “triumphant return” to the marathon event in the 2025 SEA Games, which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand.

Soh also revealed that he would uninstall social media to focus on his races.

Well, that’s definitely more discipline than I had during exam season when I was a student.

He also thanked his coach and loved ones for their support throughout his preparation for the current SEA Games.

And for those keen on catching Soh in action again, he will be running in the 10,000m race this Thursday (11 May).

Unlike the 5,000m race, he has never participated in this event before.

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Other SEA Game Achievements at the 32nd SEA Games

Other athletes from Singapore have also been achieving stellar results in the SEA Games, which will end next Wednesday (17 May).

On Monday (8 May), Shanti Pereira took home the gold medal for the 200m women’s running event.

Pereria, the reigning champion of the event, even broke both the national and the SEA Games’ meet records when she completed her sprint at 22.69 seconds.

The men’s swimming team, comprising Quah Zheng Wen, Nicholas Mahabir, Teong Tzen Wei and Jonathan Tan, also did the same in the 4x100m men’s medley relay race.

The team won gold and broke the national and meet records by finishing their event with a timing of 3:37.45.