Tag Archives: Li Jiawei

Wang Yuegu is now Singapore’s No. 1 paddler – and deservedly so

The report:

This report appeared in today’s edition of The Straits Times:

Feng’s ranking drops; Wang now tops here

(The Straits Times, 06 April 2012)

SINGAPORE suffered a blow when the latest table tennis world rankings were released yesterday.

Feng Tianwei, 25, has slipped from being the fifth-ranked woman player in the world to No. 9, a result that almost certainly means that the Republic is no longer the No. 2 team in the world.

‘I was expecting my ranking to drop because of my losses at the World Team Championships, but I didn’t think it would be this much,’ she said yesterday.

She suffered four losses in Dortmund, Germany, late last month.

Wang Yuegu, now the highest-ranked Singaporean at No. 7, and Li Jiawei (No. 14) both rose a rung each, but Feng’s slip could have greater repercussions.

Singapore is likely to be overtaken by Japan for the No. 2 spot. This, despite the team clawing their way to a silver in Dortmund. Japan, the third seeds there, finished fifth.

A country’s team ranking is a good indicator of its Olympic seeding, which is based on the rankings of the three players who qualified for the Games, and their head-to-head records with the other qualifiers.

It is important for Singapore to be seeded second at the Olympics because it would mean avoiding favourites China until the team final.

But with just three months to go before the draw for the London Games is expected, a rankings slip could hit Singapore’s chances of retaining its women’s team silver.

The world team rankings were been released yesterday.

Feng and Co are now in a race to chalk up ranking points over the six International Table Tennis Federation Pro Tour events before the Olympics.

But the national captain remains confident of climbing back up the rungs, saying: ‘Rankings go up and down all the time. There is still time between now and the Olympics, and I will do everything I can to climb back up.

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My thoughts:

Although Feng Tianwei’s drop in the world rankings means possible trouble for Singapore as they seek to cling on to their silver medal at this July’s London Olympics, I can’t help but feel that Wang Yuegu’s elevation to to the status of top Singapore player is well-deserved.

Wang was undoubtedly Singapore’s top performer at the recent World Table Tennis Team Championships. After all, she was the one who saved the Republic twice from near-certain defeat by winning the all-important rubber matches against Germany in the quarter-finals, and against South Korea in the semis.

I also couldn’t help feeling a little proud as I read about how she, enraged by some of the officials’ decisions against her in the early stages of the tournament,  decided to let fly at them, and question their competence and professionalism.

Here’s one of her best quotes after one such incident:

“I don’t need to respect officials who have these kinds of standards. I want to tell European umpires: I’m not afraid of offending you – worse come to worst, I just won’t play.  I just hope that they improve their standards, and don’t keep thinking that they are superior.”

You see what I mean? It was really jaw-dropping stuff from Wang.

I remember subsequently reading with relish the daily reports of her verbal spats with the ITTF’s European  officials and umpires, and thinking that this was such a refreshing change from the vanilla image that the women’s table tennis team has always projected – one that, perhaps, is due to the tightly-controlled, well-crafted, well-rehearsed, and ultimately very ‘unhappening’  responses that they always seem to have for the media.

I don’t know why Wang is suddenly appearing to be so feisty. Maybe she has always been so, but we have not been made aware of it.

Or maybe it is because she is now happily married, is well aware that she is entering the twilight of her playing career, and as such, does not feel the need to show the same sort of restraint as her younger teammates.

Whatever the reason, she was a joy to watch, and read about at the World Championships.

Truly, she was the epitome of fighting spirit in the Singapore team, and this was one of the very few times that I actually felt a sense of pride as I watched a naturalised citizen in national colours.

And it is about time Wang became Singapore’s No. 1 too.

After all, she has always been playing the supporting role of the lowly bridesmaid to Li Jiawei and then to Feng, who have always been portrayed as the stars of the women’s squad.

I am sure Wang’s new ranking will not change things in the team. She is unlikely to be regarded as the team’s new leader. But at least she can still quietly savour her achievement.  And at least, her long-time, as well as new-found, supporters (like me) can also rejoice with her from afar.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

P/S: By the way, Wang has a fanpage on Facebook. You can check it out at  https://www.facebook.com/wangygfc

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Sailors may have to be the ones to break Singapore’s golden duck at Asiad

Singapore’s sailors are looking strong for three gold medals at the Asian Games after six races.

At the Shanwei Water Sports Centre yesterday, the Republic’s Colin Cheng  continued to lead in the Laser Standard while 420 pairs Justin Liu and Sherman Cheng and Rachel Lee and Cecilia Low were the pacesetters in the boys’ and girls’ events.

Also in the hunt for a podium finish were Ryan Lo (Optimist Boys) and the men’s 470 duo of Roy Tay and Terence Koh.

Singapore has yet to win a gold at the 16th Asiad in Guangzhou.

Although our bowlers finally came away with medals in the Women’s Singles final, after firing blanks in Men’s singles on Monday, the gold remains elusive.

Rising kegler Shayna Ng has won a silver while compatriot New Hui Fen won a bronze.

Ng , 21, scored a total of 1,342 pinfalls, 53 pinfalls behind gold medallist Sun Ok Hwang from South Korea.

But she also created history en route to her silver success by becoming the first bowler to score a perfect game of 300 in the competition.

The Asian Games debutant achieved that mark in her fourth game.

New, 1 and the youngest member of the Singapore bowling team, took the bronze after finishing a pinfall behind Ng.  

Meanwhile, former AMF world champion Jasmine Yeong-Nathan was forced to settle for 15th place and Geraldine Ng finished ninth.

The Singapore women’s table tennis team were outplayed 0-3 by China in the final. This is the seoncond victory that China has scored over Singapore in three meetings this year.

Singapore fielded Wang Yuegu in the first singles and the world No. 7 went down 0-3 to China world No. 8 Li Xiaoxia.

Feng Tianwei went up against current world No. 1 Guo Yan and also suffered a 3-0 defeat.

Singapore opted for veteran Li Jiawei instead of Sun Beibei  in the third singles, but the 29-year-old was unable to stop China’s winning momentum, going down 0-3 to Guo Yue.

The defeat means that Singapore’s 3-1 victory over China in the World Table Tennis Team Championships in Moscow in May is now a distant memory. Since then, China has bounced back to beat Singapore 3-0 in the World Team Cup tournament in Dubai.

That victory in October and yesterday’s whitewash now brings China’s win-loss record over Singapore to a staggering 15-1.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Newsflash: Jasmine Yeong-Nathan is Sportswoman of the Year

National bowler Jasmine Yeong-Nathan has been named Singapore’s Sportswoman of the Year.

The 20-year-old, who created history last year when she became the first Singaporean ever to win the AMF World Cup, was voted the winner by a Sports Awards judging panel.

The other contenders for the award were paddler Li Jiawei, who finished fourth in the women’s singles at the Beijing Olympics and swimmer Tao Li, who became the first Singaporea swimmer to qualify for an Olympic final and also broke the Asian 100m butterfly mark en route to her fifth-placed finish in the final.

According to a report on Newsradio 93.8FM, Yeong-Nathan won the award by seven votes to four.

The Singapore Polytechnic student was in devastating form at the 44th QubicAMF World Cup in Mexico. She not only racked up a perfect game there but also destroyed defending champion Ann-Maree Putney of Australia 263-222, 298-215 in the final.

Prior to Yeong-Nathan’s World Cup win, Singapore’s best finish in the tournament were Henry Tan and Remy Ong’s silvers in the men’s finals in 1970 and 2002 respectively.

But the Sports Awards also had several twists this year.

The panel decided there were no worthy winners this year for the Sportsman and Coach of the Year Awards.

This is the first time in the 42-year history of the Awards that there is no winner for the Sportsman Award. Bowler Remy ONg was one of the nominees. It is not known who were the other nominees.

Two known nominees for the Coach of the Year Award were national bowling Mervyn Foo, who is one of Jasmine Yeong-Nathan’s coaches, and Australian swimming coach Peter Churchill, who coaches Tao Li. 

In another twist, Singapore National Olympic Council president Teo Chee Hean told Channel News Asia that table-tennis coach Liu Guodong would have easily won the Coach of the Year Award if the Singapore Table Tennis Association had nominated him.

Liu led the women’s national team to a silver at the Olympics but the achievement was subsequently clouded by shocking revelations that he had neglected the men’s squad’s preparations for the Olympics.

In fact, the men were often used as sparring partners for the women, said male paddler Gao Ning in subsequent media interviews. Nor did they not enjoy the same resources or priviliges as the women in the run-up to and during the Games.

Liu was chastised publicly by new STTA president Lee Bee Wah who hinted that his sevices might not be retained.

He eventually resigned from the STTA after expressing disgust at a new contract that he was offered, saying the terms were an insult to him.

But when contacted yesterday, Lee stood her ground and defended her association’s decision not to nominate Liu. “Coach of the Year must be naturally well-respected by all the players of the team,” she said.  

 Bowler Jazreel Tan won the Sportsgirl of the Year Award while the Sportsboy Award went to wushu exponent Yong Yixiang.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan  

Related links:

15 November 2008 – Newsflash: Jasmine is Singapore’s first AMF World Cup champion

20 March 2009 – Right move by the STTA not to nominate Liu for Coach of the Year Award

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