Soh Rui Yong is a marathoner who has won the gold 2 times now at the SEA Games.
But you may know him better as “that dude who refused to give Singapore Athletics part of his award money”.
But the problem, according to Soh, isn’t about parting with the money – S$2000 out of his S$10,000 award cash.
Rather, it’s about who the money goes to.
Under the Singapore National Olympic Council’s terms and conditions, it is mandatory for all athletes to give 20 percent of their prize money to their National Sports Association for the association’s training and development.
Speaking to the Straits Times, Soh said he retained his SEA Games marathon gold “without any coaching help” from Singapore Athletics ahead of last month’s Games in Kuala Lumpur.
He said he would rather the S$2,000 go to his American coach Ben Rosario who helped him with his training.
He also said the bulk of public funding he received to train for the SEA Games came from the Singapore Sports Institute, and not Singapore Athletics.
Soh has also publicly protested giving any cash to Singapore Athletics, claiming that the association was a disruptive influence on athletes.
Earlier today, Soh again took to Facebook to decry the salaries which coaches and technical directors at Singapore Athletics are receiving
Speaking to local online news agency Mothership, Soh said:
“You know what’s funny? We’re debating whether I should be donating 20 percent of my gold medal award money to Singapore Athletics. The real question should be whether underperforming SA administrators, paid S$3,000 to S$14,000 monthly, should be getting a 20 percent pay cut and we can channel those funds to training and development instead.”
Soh has been receiving a monthly allowance of S$1200 from Singapore Athletics, which has supposedly amounted to S$10,800 so far.
But he says he has only received S$7200 of the sum as allowances for July, August and September had not been credited to him.
That delay, according to Soh, isn’t unusual – he said only received S$3600 before the start of the SEA Games.
On the other hand, says Soh, administrators get their salaries paid on time.
Singapore Athletics, in a statement, said that Soh can his S$2000.
The Singapore National Olympics Council has said that there are currently issues in Singapore Athletics to be ironed out, but that the association did support athletes financially in their preparation for the SEA Games.