I found many search efforts on this blog to find out who Feng Tianwei is soon after she won the match that helped Singapore to beat South Korea 3-2 in the Beijing Olympics women’s table tennis team semi-final. The result virtually assures a silver medal for Singapore at the very least, and breaks our country’s 48-year barren streak at the Olympics.
So, as a reader service, I’ve found two stories on Feng by The Straits Times back in April and a portion from a story in The New Paper, also in April.
Yours in sports
Singapore Sports Fan
Singapore’s hopes soar with Feng’s rise (The Straits Times, 9 April 2008)
By Terrence Voon
IN A week full of unwanted headlines, Singapore table tennis found great joy in a piece of news yesterday.
Feng Tianwei, the sport’s rising star, has streaked up the world rankings. She is ranked the world’s 12th best woman player in the International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) monthly list.
That is a jump of eight places for the 21-year-old from last month’s list.
Just eight months ago, she was ranked 73rd.
Her latest feat is virtually unheard of, said Singapore team manager Antony Lee.
“To jump so many places within the top 20 in a month is very rare,” he said. “Tianwei’s form certainly augurs well for the Olympics.”
The Olympics start in Beijing on Aug 8.
The China-born youngster, who became a Singapore citizen in January, shot to prominence two weeks ago when she beat China’s world No 1 Zhang Yining at the Asian Cup in Sapporo, Japan.
Feng says her recent achievements have whetted her appetite for success at the Beijing Olympics.
“More than anything else, I want to help win a medal for Singapore and end our 48-year wait,” she said yesterday. “I’m confident I can rise to the challenge.”
Feng’s rapid rise has led to Singapore having three players in the top 12 of the women’s world rankings – Wang Yuegu is sixth, while Li Jiawei is eighth – for the first time.
According to Lee, this indicates that the Republic’s quest for Olympic glory remains on track…
How Feng Tianwei shot up the world rankings (The Straits Times, 9 April 2008)
August 2007: No.73
2 months ago: No.28
1 month ago: No.20
YOU probably don’t recognise her face. And most people won’t know her name either.
But all that might change, given the way Feng Tianwei, 21, has been streaking up the world rankings of women table tennis players.
China-born Feng arrived in Singapore a year ago. In just eight months, she has leapt from world No. 73 last August to No. 12 this week.
Her rise has been nothing short of phenomenal, and she has climbed eight places over the past four weeks alone.
Last December, she won the table tennis professional tour’s Under-21 crown. Two weeks ago, she beat China’s world No.1 Zhang Yining.
Feng is one of the reasons why the national squad is confident about their showing at the Beijing Olympics . Two other players are ranked higher than her – Wang Yuegu (No. 6) and Li Jiawei (No. 8).
Who can win Singapore’s first Olympic gold (The New Paper, 6 April 2008)
By Lim Han Ming
…Feng was part of China’s national junior squad for three years before she came to Singapore last April.
During her stint with the Chinese national team, she trained with senior players such as Zhang Yining and world No. 4 Wang Nan.
Feng believes that her inside knowledge of her opponents will put her in good stead in Beijing.
She said: “I have trained with them before. So I know their strengths and weaknesses. The pressure will be on them because they are playing at home.
“Our aim is to win a medal in the team event. I’m aiming for a medal in the singles, too. The colour of the medal does not matter.
“If you ask me, it is very difficult to beat the Chinese, but it is not impossible.”
“There are still four months to go before the Olympic Games. I can only get better.”