National marathoner Soh Rui Yong has apologised to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) after he was excluded from the 330-strong Singapore contingent at the Hanoi SEA Games in May.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Feb 22), the 30-year-old acknowledged that he could have been "more respectful and sensitive" and "handled certain disputes differently".
Soh wrote: "I recognise that by virtue of being a top Singapore athlete, I have the responsibility to serve as a role model to the rest of my country. I will do my best to live up to that duty."
Despite meeting the marathon qualification timing, this is the second consecutive SEA Games that Soh has been excluded from.
The SNOC announced on Feb 16 that Soh, who had won marathon golds at SEA Games in 2015 and 2017, would not travel to Vietnam as his conduct fell short of the standards of attitude and behaviour it expects of its athletes.
"There has been no attempt by him to make amends, correct or apologise for his conduct and behaviour," the SNOC said.
"Instead, there have been continued and persistent actions by Soh to challenge, mock, threaten and/or disrespect organisations and individuals including the SNOC."
In his latest Facebook post, Soh clarified that he did not write the apology to beg for a place on the SEA Games team.
Adding that there's "nothing more he wished to prove", Soh said: "I'm apologising here purely because I recognise I've not handled certain disputes well in the past, and I will endeavour to do better and grow into a better person in the future."
During the 2017 SEA Games, Soh clashed with the SNOC over its regulations prohibiting Team Singapore athletes from using their names for "promotional or advertising purposes" without permission.
He also objected to its mandatory requirement to donate 20 per cent of his $10,000 cash reward for his win back to Singapore Athletics for training and development.
In September last year, Soh was ordered by the District Court to pay former teammate Ashley Liew $180,000 for defamation after he disputed the latter's account of fair play during the 2015 SEA Games marathon.