Asia’s top tower runner sour after Putrajaya’s lack of recognition

Soh Wai Ching ranks top in Asia and 5th in the world in the sport of tower running.

PETALING JAYA: An athlete who is ranked Asia’s top in tower running has questioned a minister’s support for a woman’s quest for a RM4 million fund to “conquer” the world’s 30 tallest towers, saying he only needed 2% of that amount to represent Malaysia in the sports abroad.

Soh Wai Ching, 25, who is also ranked the world’s fifth in the sport, in which participants race to sprint to the top of a tower, was referring to an event where Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu expressed support for national woman solo runner Dr Suwaibah Muhammad Nasir in her quest to “conquer” 30 tall structures in 14 nations.

At the event, Suwaibah said she needed US$1 million (RM4 million) to finance her Humanitarian Tour to Conquer 30 World’s Tallest Towers, which includes costs for travel and accommodation.

“Why support her? Is it because she had been in the army?” Soh asked, adding that he was more qualified in the sport.

“Why not support athletes who represent the country like me?” he said.

Soh Wai Ching runs up a building during a competition abroad.

Last week, Bernama quoted Suwaibah as saying that she had received sponsorship to cover her travel and accommodation costs for her international tour.

Soh dismissed the RM4 million tag for such a tour as “nonsensical”.

Instead, he said he only needed RM80,000 to participate in tower running competitions this year.

“But she was able to get the defence minister’s support. That is not fair,” said Soh.

Soh said despite his winning streak, he has yet to get recognition as a national athlete as promised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

He said efforts to meet with minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman also did not materialise.

“I met a special officer to the deputy youth and sports minister on Dec 27. It is now more than a month,” he said.

Soh said he had also been promised help in the form of allowing tax exemptions to companies that sponsor him.