top of page

SEA Games 2023: “I can still do it, come on, come with me” says Soh Rui Yong

Two-times SEA Games gold medallist and the holder of four national records shares the reasons behind his comeback


Singapore, 4 May 2023 - For the past five years, Soh Rui Yong found himself spectating the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games from his home.

During that time, he also set four new national records for the men’s 5000m, 10,000m, half marathon and marathon, and began studying for a law degree at the University College London.

Although Rui Yong’s sporting performance had improved in the five years, he admitted he did not feel he was “losing out too much” by having to sit out the SEA Games.

Yet, he was not entirely at peace as he watched the last two editions of the regional competition from the sidelines. Seeing the performance of his fellow distance-runners, and abuse hurled at sports administrators and athletes during the competitions, Rui Yong said this motivated him to return and support his fellow compatriots.

“What inspired me to come back was seeing that there was no one really yet to fill my shoes. And I wanted to come back and show I’m five years older, I can still do it, come on, come with me,” said the 31-year-old.

“Hopefully that can inspire the next generation to achieve what I’ve done and excel past that.”


But he recognised the need to reconcile with various parties before he could do so.

“For me I’ve never been a very quiet personality… which is why I got in trouble on a few occasions,” said Rui Yong.

“I believe in what I stood for, but maybe I could have done it in a more concise and less confrontational way which may have had better effects.”


“So, putting that aside, learning from it, I took steps to make my way back onto the team,” he added.

In fact, the current leadership at Singapore Athletics played a vital role in his comeback.

“When President Lien Choong Luen won the elections in 2020 with his new team, athletics has been on the rise,” said the distance runner. “The morale has gone up, and that’s also why I wanted to come back.”

“President Lien… he was interested in having me back,” said Rui Yong. “So, I was obviously flattered, but I also wanted to do my best because I wanted to help this leadership.”


Having never run the 10,000m event at the SEA Games with his best placing in the 5,000m event being fifth, Rui Yong has been hard at work to prepare for the competition that runs from 5-17 May in Phnom Penh.

While he will be running with spiked shoes in Cambodia, Rui Yong uses the Under Armour Flow Velocity Elite for his other races and the Under Armour HOVR Sonic for trainings.

The six weeks he has had to train for the upcoming games is far from the usual three to six months he usually takes. But he believes he has done his best and is excited to see what he can achieve from such a short period of preparation.

“If I can squeeze my way into the top three, I’ll be extremely satisfied given everything that has happened,” he said.


bottom of page