Soh beats Asiad 10,000m qualifying mark, now aims for marathon as well
Another qualification mark met, and Soh Rui Yong is already on to the next.
Last Sunday, the Republic's top marathoner clocked 31min 28.67sec in the 10,000 metres at the Singapore Athletics' All Comers 5 meet, comfortably clearing the Asian Games standard of 31:44.14. Now, he is eyeing a place in the marathon as well for the Asiad in Hangzhou next September.
Soh, 30, leaves tonight to compete in this weekend's Valencia Marathon in Spain, hoping to better the Games' qualification mark of 2hr 23min 42sec, which is two seconds faster than his national record. In June, he had cleared the qualification mark for the 1,500m at the Hanoi SEA Games next May.
In the new year, he will leave for London, where he will begin reading law at University College London for three years.
"I'll look for a 10,000m (race) in England and try to take my national record to below 31 minutes," said Soh.
Last Sunday's effort was his second try at qualifying for the Asian Games, having clocked 31:57 in September.
He said that good competition - from Gurkha runner Subhas Gurung, who clocked 31:46:14 - as well as training partners from a team coached by his former Raffles Junior College coach Steven Quek, helped make a difference this time.
"They have been taking turns to run alternate laps with me at training... (and) it's really crucial to have some good company," said Soh.
"While he (Quek) doesn't directly coach me, I'm very happy for the chance to work with him and his group. So huge thanks to him."
In addition to the marathon, Soh is also the national record holder for the 2,400m (6:53.18), 5,000m (14:44.21), 10,000m (31:15.95) and half-marathon (66:41).
He is the first Singaporean marathoner to win back-to-back SEA Games gold medals, in 2015 and 2017, but was omitted from the 2019 edition despite meeting the qualifying time.
The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said then that it arrived at the decision as Soh had displayed "conduct that falls short of the standards of attitude and behaviour that the SNOC expects of and holds its athletes to".
FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES