Badminton Life

Singapore Worried About Susilo's Olympic Chances After Lovers' Quarrel

Singapore badminton officials fear for their medal hopes at the Beijing Olympics because of an ugly quarrel between their leading men's player Ronald Susilo and his former girlfriend, table tennis star Li Jiawei.

Susilo, the former world number six, is considering taking legal action against Li because he wants a share of a car and condominium the two bought together when they were a couple, according to the Straits Times newspaper.

After being an item for many years, the couple split in January. And now their personal problems have gone public with Susilo's claims.

Terry Tan, a leading Singapore sports figure, urged both athletes to settle their differences and calm down.

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

There is concern that the court case may affect Susilo's Olympic preparations. But the player, who beat China's world number one Lin Dan at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said there was no reason to worry.

The Indonesian-born Susilo said he had been trying to contact Li but having failed to do so, decided to seek legal advice.

"What can I do now? I have loans to pay and it is urgent," he told the Today newspaper. "But rest assured, I will focus on getting ready for the Olympics."

Susilo is not the force he used to be and is now ranked 17th in the world, though he remains Singapore's brightest hope in the Olympic badminton competition.

The concern is not only for Susilo but for Li as well. She is among the favourites to land gold in the women's Olympic table tennis event.

She said in the Singapore media: "Does he want to affect my chances of winning a medal or my moods? What's his motive and why now? I am a girl after all and he knows these things will upset me."

Susilo, however, said he is not asking for jewellery and other gifts he bought her when they were together. He just wants his share of property.

Susilo and Li first got together at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and, until their parting, have been known as Singapore's golden couple.

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