Now, Liew wants apology from Soh for statements

Ashley Liew
Ashley LiewPHOTOS: ONEATHLETE/RUNNINGSHOTS, ST FILE
Soh Rui Yong
Soh Rui Yong

Second lawyer's letter issued in row over fair play award; Rui Yong open to settlement

Two-time SEA Games marathon champion Soh Rui Yong was served a lawyer's letter yesterday by fellow national athlete Ashley Liew requesting the former retracts his statements on the 2015 SEA Games marathon and apologise publicly by April 16.

This comes after the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) had on April 1, through law firm Rajah & Tann, served Soh a lawyer's letter with similar requests. Soh did not comply by Monday's deadline.

The SNOC said yesterday in a statement that it has "done all that is necessary to bring the truth of what happened during the race to light. SNOC will leave it to Mr Liew to take up the matter further with Mr Soh to vindicate Mr Liew's reputation."

Last October, Soh disputed Liew's account of events at the 2015 race in Singapore, for which the latter was given a special award for sportsmanship by the SNOC and the Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy by the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP) in 2016.

During the segment of the marathon at East Coast Park on June 7, 2015, Liew had reportedly found himself with a 50m lead after 12 other runners missed a U-turn and took the wrong route.

But, instead of capitalising, he slowed down to let his rivals catch up.

Liew eventually finished eighth in the event which Soh won.

SPEAK UP

Staying silent on the matter was an exercise in de-escalation, not an admission of guilt. However, with the insinuations continuing, I cannot remain silent anymore. I believe it is time to speak up and clear the air.

ASHLEY LIEW, national marathon runner, on the lawyer's letter sent to Soh Rui Yong demanding an apology for questioning the former's account of the 2015 SEA Games marathon.

LET'S TALK

I am open to mediation and to find common ground if he wants to talk about this... find common settlement for all parties so we can leave this trivial matter behind and get ready for the 2019 SEA Games and other more important things.

SOH RUI YONG, national marathon runner, responding to Ashley Liew's lawyer letter.

Soh alleged on social media that Liew's story was "untrue" after the CIFP had put up a Facebook post last year hailing Liew as a role model for fair play.

In his first public comments since Soh's allegations, Liew, a chiropractor, said in a statement yesterday: "From a personal standpoint, I have not responded publicly to something like this because it is not my nature to fan any controversy. To me, staying silent on the matter was an exercise in de-escalation, not an admission of guilt.

"However, with the insinuations continuing, I cannot remain silent any more. I believe it is time to speak up and clear the air."

On the suggestion that tracking data be provided, his management company ONEathlete noted this was not possible as Liew was using a Timex analogue non-GPS watch during the 2015 race.

The SNOC letter had stated Soh's allegations "casts aspersions on the merits and integrity of SNOC's submission of Mr Liew's candidacy to the Fair Play Committee".

It also noted the SNOC, through Rajah & Tann, has "interviewed and spoken with various individuals who had personally witnessed the event that day", and that at least four individuals have stepped forward to the SNOC to support Liew's account.

Liew, 32, has engaged Mark Teng of That.Legal LLC.

Business development executive Soh, 27, is represented by Eugene Thuraisingam LLP.

Soh said besides an apology, Liew also demanded he pay for his legal fees.

Soh told The Straits Times he will "entertain neither request" and added: "I am open to mediation and to find common ground if he wants to talk about this.

"(My plans going forward are) to find common settlement for all parties so we can leave this trivial matter behind and get ready for the 2019 SEA Games and other more important things."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2019, with the headline 'Now, Liew wants apology from Soh for statements'. Print Edition | Subscribe