Motivational contest for runners cancelled over voting issues

A screengrab of the The Performance Series web page about the Ambassadors contest, which was cancelled after all five participants were found to have voting issues. PHOTO: THE PERFORMANCE SERIES

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - A contest involving participants in a race event was cancelled after the organisers suspected discrepancies during the voting process.

The event, organised by The Performance Series (TPS), features runners who took part in a series of four races, covering distances of either 5km or 10km, from April to October this year.

This year, runners were invited to take part in the TPS Ambassadors contest, held from March to September.

Contestants had to submit a motivational story about their running journey over the year, with the winner decided by two criteria - public votes and the number of people they had inspired to join the race (tracked using a promotional code given to each participant).

Five entries were selected to vie for the $1,000 prize.

But on Monday (Oct 15), one participant, Ms Priscilla Chew, wrote on her blog that the contest had been cancelled after the closing date.

She told The New Paper that she contacted the organisers and was told participants would be given a $100 Compressport voucher and a TPS medal hanger worth $45 as compensation.

Ms Priscilla Chew. PHOTO: OMY

Their registration fees - starting from a minimum of $45 per race - for the TPS 2018 races would also be refunded.

Ms Chew said: "I am not happy because we worked hard to rally the votes.

"The value of the compensation is also less than $1,000."

When the contest closed on Sept 30, Ms Chew had the highest number of votes at 6,259. The next participant had 3,415.

TPS told TNP the contest was cancelled because each of the five participants had multiple votes cast from the same IP address.

Its spokesman said: "A participant with over 6,000 votes had about 5,200 votes created from the same IP address.

At least 1,000 of the 3,000-plus votes received by another contestant were also cast from a single IP address, he added.

"The contamination of the votes was so extensive that there was no way of identifying a winner," the spokesman said.

When asked about this, Ms Chew said: "The votes may have come from the same IP because I invited some friends over to my home to vote for me."

She also claimed that there is no way to access the same voting link and vote twice.

The TPS spokesman said: "We tried to prohibit multiple voting by using cookies. But there are always ways to go around this."

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