02 Apr 2019 – In October 2018, Soh Rui Yong alleged that Ashley Liew did not slow down during the 2015 SEA Games marathon race. We responded on 21 Oct 2018 to media queries. In spite of this, Soh continued to maintain his allegations insinuating that Ashley had lied.
Soh’s allegations had unfairly cast doubt over ONEathlete, Ashley Liew’s repute as an individual, working professional and national athlete, as well as, the merit and integrity of nominating Ashley for and eventual award of the Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy in 2016.
Back then, we decided not to respond further to Soh’s incessant aspersions in kind because we do not stand for, nor identify with, such regrettable behaviour from a fellow athlete.
We note that the SNOC has served a lawyer’s letter to Soh to “publicly retract and withdraw” his allegations, in light of sworn statutory declarations made by various individuals who had witnessed Ashley slowing down to allow the other runners to catch up during the race.
We are grateful to the SNOC for working through the due processes to follow up with and provide greater clarity on this matter. We are also deeply appreciative of the four honourable individuals who have stepped forward with sworn declarations to stand for what they deeply believe in and know is right.
Unlike those whom Soh claims to be his witnesses (such as Philippines athlete, Rafael Roliquit Jr, who had received coaching advice from Soh, as well as, two other individuals who were Soh’s coaches), we understand that these four individuals are independent witnesses who were prepared to and did in fact make sworn statements of what they saw during the race.
That is the material difference – anyone can say anything you want on social media and get away with untruths and lies, but not so when you make statutory declarations.
Based on media reports, Soh has decided not to retract and withdraw his false allegations against Ashley, and has instead sought to aggravate matters by repeating his allegations in his social media postings.
If the truth is really what Soh seeks, we believe the best way to achieve that would be for Soh to co-operate with the SNOC and its lawyers, and to seek clarity with the SNOC in an amicable manner. It is clear that even when confronted with 4 statutory declarations from witnesses whose accounts contradicts Soh’s allegations, Soh has chosen to turn a blind eye to these sworn-in and factual accounts by insisting that his allegations represent “nothing but the truth”.
Such an approach by Soh only serves as an aggravating factor to his initial conduct of falsely accusing another athlete of lying, and in so doing, has brought the sport into disrepute. Soh’s refusal to retract his false allegations in the face of the 4 statutory declarations is an extension of his willful act of blatant disregard, poor sportsmanship and improper conduct which goes against Singapore Athletics’ Athlete’s Code of Conduct.
ONEathlete continues to stand by our earlier response on 21 Oct 2018, and
will defer to SNOC’s processes that are ongoing at the moment. We will also examine all legal options available to Ashley in light of current developments.