Singapore’s junior paddlers plundered five golds, two silvers and a bronze at the 14th Milo South-east Asian Junior Championships in Kuala Lumpur, last week, to underline their status as the region’s kingpins in the sport at youth level.
Sylvia Look was the Republic’s biggest individual winner in the annual eight-nation competition with three golds.
The 15-year-old student captured the Girls’ Team title along with Zena Sim, Isabelle Li Sandra Goh, Kwa Hui Qi and Lu Chun Qi, ahead of Thailand and Malaysia.
She also defeated Isabelle Li 4-2 in an all-Singapore Girls U-15 singles final to take the individual crowd. Sylvia completed her hat-trick of golds when she and Isabelle defeated their Malaysian opponents, Liew Yong Xuan and Lim Ann Er, 3-1 in the Girls U-15 Doubles final.
Former Asian U-15 singles champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Zena Sim also had a good individual outing in Kuala Lumpur.
The 18-year-old Singapore Sports School graduate, who is now pursuing a diploma in sports science and exercise management at the Auckland University of Technology, defeated compatriot Hui Qi 4-0 to take the Girls U-18 singles crown.
However, the duo could not add the Girls U-18 Doubles title to their collection as they went down 1-3 to Malaysia’s Ting Hie Phin and Gam Giak Ping.
Interestingly, Zena’s results were the exact opposite of her fortunes at last year’s Championships in Laos. Back then, she had finished second in the Girls U-18 singles and took the gold in the Girls U-18 Doubles.
Singapore Sports School student Pang Xue Jie also experienced the same reversal of fortunes.
The 15-year-old student, who was part of the national men’s team that won the team title at last year’s SEA Games, whipped his Vietnamese opponent, Le Tien Duct, 4-1 to take the Boys U-15 singles title (he finished second in the same event last year).
But Xue Jie lost the Boys’ U-15 Doubles gold which he won last year. This time, he and team-mate Darren Chong fought valiantly but were edged out 2-3 by Le Tien Dat and Nguyen Ngo Tu of Vietnam in the final.
Singapore won its sole bronze in the Boys Team event. The Boys team was made up of Xue Jie, Goh Yi Long, Darren, Lim Jie Yan, Benjamin Teo and Bob Teo. Vietname won the gold followed by Indonesia.
Zena and her team-mates, Xue Jie and Darren, will now represent South-east Asia at the Junior Asia Championships which will be held in Singapore from 23-27 July.
Just thought I’d let you know: this report was painstakingly compiled from a number of disparate sources after a search through the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s website and www.sttnews.blogspot.com, which claims to be a non-official site of the STTA, yielded nothing.
That, in itself, was very disappointing, considering the fact that these are Singapore’s most promising local juniors, that they were flying the Republic’s flag in a regional competition, and finally, that they vying for the honour of representing South-east Asia at the Junior Asia Championships in July.
When you are a young, aspiring athlete, one of the things you look forward to is seeing some mention of your achievements in the newspapers. I firmly believe that youth athletes should be given due recognition and publicity for their achievements because this will help to spur and motivate them to work harder and to stay in the sport.
This also explains why for a few days, I kept seeing “south-east asian junior table tennis championships” and variations of it appearing as search terms on my blog. Clearly, there were youths and die-hard local table-tennis fans looking for information and results from this event.
When I couldn’t find anything myself on the net, it prompted me to go to a range of sources to piece together the results in order to come up with this newsflash.
When the national governing body for that sport isn’t even proactive in disemminating information about their local juniors’ achievements on the international stage, the silence is simply damning.
Compare that to the way the Singapore Sailing Federation constantly updates its website and alerts the media to the latest competition results, and the gulf in standards just stands out.
The Singapore Sports Fan congratulates all our junior paddlers for a great job in Kuala Lumpur.
My heartiest congratulations to those paddlers too who have made the cut to represent South-east Asia at the Junior Asia Championships. Here’s wishing them a successful competition ahead.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan
P.S: This is a personal invite to all local junior paddlers and table tennis fans out there. If you would like your achievements or results at any major international competitions to be reported on this blog, do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send me as many details as you can ie how many medals Singapore won, who won what, by what score etc, and I will do my best to create a report out of it for this blog. I look forward to hearing from you.