Lovers' quarrel threatens medal hopes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2008, 12:00am

The public fallout following the split of sport's once-golden couple is threatening to scupper Singapore's medal chances.

Table tennis captain Li Jiawei says she has been stung by a front-page story in The Sunday Times in which former fiance and national badminton player Ronald Susilo said he was mulling legal action to recover money he claimed he had put into their car and apartment.

'Does he want to affect my chances of winning a medal or my moods?' Li said in yesterday's Straits Times.

'What is his motive and why now? I am a girl after all and he knows these things will upset me.'

The 24-year-old and Susilo ended their 51/2-year relationship in January and were thought to have parted as friends.

Li said she was 'very troubled' by the claims she owed her 28-year-old former boyfriend money.

'I have the ability to earn my own money - why do I need someone else to buy things for me?' she said in an interview with Chinese daily Shin Min.

She did not want to discuss the claims but said 'the truth would come out later'.

Despite his candour in the Sunday Times story, Susilo was later reluctant to discuss the issue further. 'This is a private matter between us and I really do not wish to discuss this publicly,' he told the Straits Times.

He did, however, reiterate that he was not asking Li to return gifts and jewellery he had bought her during their relationship, only his share of the car and property they had bought together.

Former deputy president of the table tennis federation, Terry Tan, urged his former protege and Susilo to come to an amicable solution soon.

'The Olympics is just around the corner, this is not the time for emotions to run wild,' he said.