Runner Soh Rui Yong fails in appeal against defamation suit loss to Ashley Liew
SINGAPORE: A High Court judge on Monday (Mar 28) dismissed marathoner Soh Rui Yong’s appeal against a defamation suit mounted by fellow runner Ashley Liew.
Soh, 30, lost the defamation suit and was ordered by a district court in September last year to pay Liew damages of S$180,000. His appeal was heard by Justice Valerie Thean.
The case centres on an act of fair play carried out by Liew at a SEA Games marathon in 2015. Soh and Liew were teammates representing Singapore at the race held in June that year.
The marathon route consisted of five loops within East Coast Park, but Liew was the only participant who made a U-turn correctly at the first U-turn point.
Soh and all the other runners missed the point and ran past it before making a U-turn about 50m ahead, resulting in Liew being ahead of the rest.
Liew then purportedly slowed down to let the rest catch up, before resuming his marathon pace. This was reported as an act of fair play on mainstream and social media.
Soh eventually won the race, while Liew was later given a Special Award for Sportsmanship by the Singapore National Olympic Council. He also became the first Singaporean to receive the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy.
Following this, Soh made five statements online claiming that the act of fair play did not happen.
In one such statement in October 2018, he wrote on Facebook: “I didn’t say anything about this three years ago because I figured a teammate of mine just had a bad race and needed something to feel better about his performance.
“But this fictional version of events that transpired that day has been repeated and published time and time again … While making a good story, it is simply not true, and I think it’s time to stop living in imagination.”