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Marathoner Soh Rui Yong challenges Ashley Liew to donate S$180,000 he won in damages to S'pore sports

SINGAPORE — Marathoner Soh Rui Yong has challenged one-time teammate Ashley Liew to "prove your sportsmanship" by using the S$180,000 damages he was awarded in a defamation suit against Mr Soh to set up a fund or scholarship that “benefits the athletes of Singapore”. 

Marathoner Soh Rui Yong challenges Ashley Liew to donate S$180,000 he won in damages to S'pore sports
Ashley Liew (left) and Soh Rui Yong (right) in a picture posted on Facebook in 2015 after the SEA Games that year.

SINGAPORE — Marathoner Soh Rui Yong has challenged one-time teammate Ashley Liew to "prove your sportsmanship" by using the S$180,000 damages he was awarded in a defamation suit against Mr Soh to set up a fund or scholarship that “benefits the athletes of Singapore”. 

“With the full sum of around $320,000 ($180,000 damages and $140,000 legal costs) now paid, I now issue this open challenge to Ashley Liew — prove how much sportsmanship you really have,” Mr Soh, 30, wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday (April 5). 

He added that most of the money he had paid to Dr Liew, 35, was from donations from the public.  

“Give back to Singapore, and Singapore sports. Use the entire S$180,000 in damages for your 'loss of reputation' and 'hurt, distress and embarrassment' to set up a fund or a scholarship that benefits the athletes of Singapore,” Mr Soh added.  

Give back to Singapore, and Singapore sports. Use the entire S$180,000 in damages for your 'loss of reputation' and 'hurt, distress and embarrassment' to set up a fund or a scholarship that benefits the athletes of Singapore.
Marathon Soh Rui Yong, in a Facebook post directed at fellow athlete Ashley Liew

“Doing a good deed like this will provide everyone with a nice closure to move on from this unfortunate episode.”

In response to TODAY's queries about Mr Soh's Facebook post, Dr Liew and his lawyer declined comment.  

The two athletes were embroiled in a long-running row over a Southeast Asian Games marathon event in 2015, with Dr Liew finally winning the defamation suit against Mr Soh on Sept 23 last year. 

The lawsuit was sparked by Mr Soh’s allegations that Dr Liew had lied about slowing down during the event held at East Coast Park in Singapore, after his rivals missed a U-turn and took the wrong path. 

Dr Liew had slowed down to wait for them to catch up — an act that later won him the Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy, a global prize for good sportsmanship. It was the first time a Singaporean had received the award.

But Mr Soh, who won the marathon, disputed this account in five online posts from June 2015 to August 2019, claiming that Dr Liew had not slowed down at all.

Dr Liew proceeded to sue Mr Soh for defamation, arguing that his teammate had defamed him by saying that he lied in order to obtain recognition and the award.

Earlier this year, Mr Soh was left out of the Singapore team to compete at the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam next month.

Related topics

defamation Soh Rui Yong Ashley Liew SEA Games sportsmanship Sports

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