Editorial Note: This article first appeared in Today on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.
SINGAPORE — The tussle for the marathon gold medal at next year’s SEA Games could prove an exciting one for home fans, with United States-based Soh Rui Yong set to give reigning champion Mok Ying Ren a run for his money.
Running in the California International Marathon yesterday morning, national 10,000m record holder Soh clocked an impressive 2hr 26min 01 sec to finish fifth in the men’s 20- to 24-year-old category, and was placed 37th overall.
That means the University of Oregon business undergraduate has met the qualifying mark of 2:30:30 for the SEA Games, which is pegged at the bronze medal time from the 2013 Games.
It was an impressive debut marathon for the 23-year-old who only started training for the 42.195km distance in July. More importantly, Soh’s time puts him in contention for gold, alongside defending champion Mok who has yet to qualify.
Last December, Mok won Singapore’s first SEA Games men’s marathon title in Naypyidaw with a time of 2:28:36.
Soh’s California achievement is the season’s best by a Singaporean runner, and ranks second behind Murugiah Rameshon’s national record time of 2:24:22 clocked in Chiangmai in 1995.
While the chatter in the fraternity may now be focused on the battle for gold between the duo, Soh insisted yesterday the friendly rivalry can only be a boon for local track and field.
Speaking to TODAY in a phone interview from Sacramento, Soh said: “I’m definitely happy with my time, as coming into the race, my only goal was to go faster than 2:30. I’m ready for my chance to fight for a medal at the SEA Games.
“First, Mok has to qualify for the Games and I hope he makes it because then we will have a strong team. If all goes well, hopefully we can get a gold and silver for Singapore. But it will not be easy as Indonesia and Philippines will be strong and everyone will be going for gold.”
While Soh had toyed with the idea of competing in both the 10,000m and marathon, he has since ruled that out.
For the rest of this article go to: http://www.todayonline.com/sports/soh-sets-sea-games-fight.
FInd more information about Soh Rui Yong.