'Technical issue' to blame

'Technical issue' to blame
Local runner Tam Chua Puh (left, in blue) crossing the finishing line for the 42.195km full marathon at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapoer on 1 December 2013. Attempts to contact him have proven unsuccessful. He was said to have finished some seven minutes faster than Singapore’s top marathoner Mok Ying Ren but he was later disqualified after the event organiser investigated.

SINGAPORE- It was his first podium finish in six tries. But what Alex Ong thought would be his moment of glory turned into a nightmare on Sunday. That was when he learnt he had been disqualified in the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).

But yesterday, Ong, who had completed the 42.195km race in 2hr 54min 57sec - approximately 40 seconds behind local men's winner Mok Ying Ren, got the reprieve he was looking for.

At 5pm, he was informed by event organiser Spectrum Worldwide that his appeal against disqualification had been successful and that he had been reinstated to second place, a position worth $5,000.

"I'm very heartened by the news," said the 26-year-old trainee teacher. "But while I'm pleased that the matter has been resolved, I'm still a little disappointed to have missed out on my first podium finish in six tries."

He was not the only victim of what Spectrum called a "technical issue with the official timing system", which resulted in him and a substantial number of other participants being disqualified.

Derek Li, another seasoned local runner, also fell victim to the technical glitch. He too said he had been told by Spectrum that his sixth-place finish and time of 3:06.21 would stand.

"I'm more relieved than happy," the 31-year-old doctor, who earned $1,000 for his efforts, said. "I trained really hard for this race and while it wasn't my best result, it would have been very disappointing to end the year with a disqualification."

Ong, agreed, noting that "it's not about the prize money".

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