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Li Jiawei speaks out against ex-fiance
Terrence Voon
Wed, Apr 09, 2008
The Straits Times

IS HE trying to ruin my Olympic dream?

A furious Li Jiawei asked this question of Ronald Susilo, a day after The Sunday Times reported that her ex-fiance was mulling legal action against her to recover money he claimed he had put into buying their car and condominium unit.

The news that national badminton player Susilo was seeking to recoup between $50,000 to $100,000 stunned the 24-year-old Singapore paddler yesterday.

Li, who captains the national women's table tennis team, pulled no punches when she spoke to The Straits Times in a telephone interview.

"Does he want to affect my chances of winning a medal or my moods?" she asked angrily, referring to the upcoming Beijing Olympics in August.

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

Li, who has been tipped to lead the women's team to Singapore's first Olympic medal since 1960, said she was "very troubled" by his accusations.

Sources had said that Susilo, 28, tried to contact Li several times in the past few months to no avail - a charge she fervently denies.

"I swear he has never called me," she retorted.

"All our friends know that I changed my mobile phone number recently.

"If he had wanted to reach me, he could have done so easily."

Li and Susilo, once the golden couple of Singapore sports, ended their 51/2- year relationship in January.

They were believed to have parted as friends, though this row clearly shows the pair are no longer on cordial terms.

"Even after we broke up, I have never talked about our relationship in public," she said bitterly.

"It's always been him talking. I just hope that the media give me a fair hearing now."

In The Sunday Times story, it was reported that the couple's $80,000 Honda Civic, now held by Li, was mostly paid for by Susilo.

It was also believed that the Indonesia-born shuttler had spent between $50,000 and $100,000 on their apartment in Kembangan, including renovation costs.

Li did not want to discuss the claims, saying only that "the truth would come out later".

"Even after we broke up, I never talked about our relationship in public. It's always been him talking. I just hope that the media give me a fair hearing now." -Li Jiawei (above)

But, in an interview with Chinese daily Shin Min published yesterday, she had laughed off Susilo's claim that he had a share in the apartment, which they had bought at over $600,000 and is now said to be worth over $800,000.

"I have the ability to earn my own money - why do I need someone else to buy things for me?" she had declared.

She also elaborated on their break-up, saying that their "different lifestyles and ways of thinking" had led to the split.

When contacted yesterday, Susilo said: "This is a private matter between us and I really do not wish to discuss this publicly.

"Anyway, Jiawei and I are preparing for the Olympics, and I wish her all the best."

Susilo reiterated that he was not asking her to return the gifts and jewellery he had bought her during their relationship - only his share of the car and property they had purchased together.

With just four months to go before the Beijing Games, the public spat between the two national sports stars has alarmed several in the sports fraternity.

Terry Tan, the former deputy president of the Singapore Table Tennis Association appealed for both his former protege and Susilo to come to an amicable solution soon.

"The Olympics is just around the corner, and this is not the time for emotions to run wild," said Tan, who had recruited Li for the Singapore table tennis team from China in 1995, when she was just 14. "I urge the two of them to settle this as quickly as possible."

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