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Yang wants a resolution

Yang wants a resolution

Source: Straits Times
Date Published: 14 Sep 2018
Author: Muhammad Sazali Abdul Aziz

Pole vaulter seeks meeting with track body over compensation after she was not picked for Asiad.

National pole vaulter Rachel Yang is seeking compensation from Singapore Athletics (SA) after she was not selected for the recent Asian Games in Indonesia.

A lawyer engaged by the 36-year-old athlete has sent a letter to the sport's local governing body, proposing a "without prejudice" meeting to try and find a resolution to her claim against the SA. The Straits Times understands that she is asking for a five-figure sum.

"Without prejudice" means that, should the meeting and a genuine attempt to settle the dispute take place, any statements made by the two parties during the meeting will not be admissible in court should litigation later take place.

Yang is attempting to recover the costs she had incurred in training and preparing overseas for the Aug 18-Sept 2 Games, as well as for the loss of income as she had taken no-pay leave from her job to prepare for the competition.

This is the latest in a string of controversies that have plagued the track and field body over the last 18 months, and comes less than a month before its annual general meeting, scheduled for Oct 11, where its affiliates will elect office-bearers for the next two years.

The disagreement between Yang and SA centres on the qualifying period for the Asiad.

In a post on SA's website dated Feb 6 this year, it is stated that the window for qualification ran from April 15, 2017 to June 17, 2018.

The Singapore National Olympic Council's (SNOC) qualifying benchmark is the sixth-placed result at the previous Asian Games - which is the 3.90m set by Chayanisa Chomchuendee of Thailand at the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea.

Going by this, Yang's 3.91m effort cleared at the Thailand Open in June last year - a national record - meant she had qualified for selection.

However, the SNOC's qualifying window for this year's Games - reflected in a post on its website dated Sept 26, 2017 - stipulates that "all achievements should be achieved within a 13-month period before the 2018 Asian Games". This meant the start of the SNOC's qualifying window was July 18, rendering her result invalid.

In June, Yang had told ST that she had sought clarification from SA's secretariat "a few times" if her result from the Thai Open was eligible for Asian Games qualification, and had been reassured each time.

She also claimed she was told that her result would stand because SA's selection criteria - and the differing qualifying window - had been approved by the SNOC before it was published.

However, an SNOC spokesman yesterday shared that all NSAs have to meet its selection criteria, and that it did not grant any special provisions to any NSA.

ST understands that after Yang missed out on selection, SA had offered to compensate her for her training expenses - which amounted to about $5,000 - but she had turned it down, as she also factored in her loss of income.

Yang, who works as an assistant marketing manager, had taken no-pay leave from the middle of March till the end of August. She had previously estimated that the total income lost during this period was about $26,000.

Yesterday, she said: "I have reached out to SA to try to resolve this matter internally, and look forward to meeting them soon."

SA has to respond to the request for a meeting within two weeks of the letter, which is dated Sept 12.

SA general manager Yip Ren Kai told ST that it was "still trying to resolve" the matter and refused to divulge more, citing the ongoing attempts at resolution.

Yang has been involved in legal wrangles with SA in the past, stemming from comments she had made on social media about secretariat members.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.




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