Tag Archives: Singapore Table Tennis Association

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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Newsbreak: Singapore assured of at least a silver after reaching Asiad table tennis team final

Team Singapore – currently with one silver (Tao Li) and a bronze (Peter Gilchrist) to their name  – will be able to add one more medal to their Asian Games tally tomorrow after the trio of Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu and Sun Beibei defeated North Korea 3-0 to reach the women’s team final.

They will now face China for the third time this year, and for the second consecutive Asiad.

I hate to say this but I think it’s probably going to be a silver tomorrow because I cannot see how China will falter with home support.

Hopefully, the margin of defeat – if it is going to be a defeat for Singapore – will be a narrow one.

Because if Singapore suffers their second 0-3 whitewash in two months, cynics will have a field day casting aspersions on their fine 3-1 win over China in the World Table Tennis Team Championships final in May.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Here’s the report from The Straits Times Online website:

S’pore women paddlers in final

(The Straits Times Online, 15 Nov 2010)

By Jeff Ang

SINGAPORE reached the women’s table tennis team final for the second straight Asiad after seeing off North Korea 3-0 in the semi-finals on Monday.

Wang Yuegu defeated Kim Jong 11-7, 11-9, 14-16, 11-7 in less than 40 minutes to give the Republic a 1-0 lead.

Feng Tianwei and Sun Beibei were just as clinical in fending off their respective opponents, Kim Hye Song and Han Hye Song.

Feng mastered Kim 11-5, 11-6, 10-12 and 12-10 before Sun sealed the win and sent Singapore into the final with her 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8 triumph over Han.

Singapore will face China in the final tomorrow after the hosts defeated South Korea 3-1 in the other semi-final. This is the second consecutive Asiad that both teams are facing each other for the gold. It is also the third time that Singapore is facing China in a women’s team final this year.

Singapore defeated China 3-1 in the World Table Tennis Team Championships in May but were beaten 0-3 in the World Team Cup Classic final in October.

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Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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The New Paper takes STTA to task for not using Zena Sim in SEA Games table tennis team final

This report came out in The New Paper last Friday, and frankly, it came across as a breath of fresh air.

I enjoyed it because it dared to say something that the other papers seem to have either failed to notice, or are not daring to raise for fear of goodness knows what.

The question that The New Paper asked was very pointed: 

In our quest for SEA Games glory. have we forgotten the need to use the Games as the platform to build and develop our local talent?

Indeed, is all this talk about local talent development  by the new regime at the Singapore  Table Tennis Association nothing but lip service?

After all, at the end of the day, the message it seems to be sending budding local talents like Zena Sim and Isabelle Li is this: “You’re good enough to play for us during the preliminary, non-crucial matches but we will stick to the foreign talents when it comes to the crunch. We don’t want to take any unneccessary risks”.

Food for thought.

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Local talent needs exposure  (The New Paper, 11 Dec 2009)

By Ernest Luis

TO WHAT extent do you sacrifice local talent in order to get gold, and win for Singapore?

To start this debate, it’s worth noting that Singapore’s South-east Asia Games women’s table tennis team that won gold yesterday is actually second in the world rankings behind China.

So when is the best time to field a rising star like 19-year-old Zena Sim, the only homegrown player in the women’s team?

Firstly, the SEA Games gold medal that Singapore’s women’s team won yesterday was not its first in this regional event.

So the desperation factor was not as great.

Was this the pinnacle – the Olympics – at stake? No.

Was this the Asian Games? No.

Was this even the Commonwealth Games? No.

This was the SEA Games.

It was an event in which even Singapore’s opponents had surrendered before the semi-finals were played yesterday morning.

Malaysia said they would lose.

They lost 0-3.

Thailand – whom Singapore’s women met in the final yesterday afternoon – said way back on Tuesday it would be easier to walk back to Bangkok, than to win the gold.

They lost too, 0-3.

If the opponents were so weak in the mind, and our women’s team were so strong and confident, why the seeming ‘kiasu’ attitude of trying to seal the gold medal as early as possible?

Imagine an in-form Zena cushioned alongside Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu against the Thais in the final. Couldn’t Singapore take a little risk for some valuable exposure?

Even if Zena were to lose her game, wasn’t there still enough strength in depth from Feng and Wang to overcome any deficit in a best-of-five series?

Singapore would still have won the gold, unless they are mentally so fragile when they lose a game.

As it is, the Thais were all the stronger in terms of exposure even though they lost.

But in the Singapore team’s eagerness to seal yet another SEA Games gold medal in women’s table tennis, did they let slip a chance to expose homegrown Zena to this level of competition when they had a great chance in a final?

What is the message from the Singapore Table Tennis Association to other homegrown players when the journey got closer to a gold medal?

Was the eagerness worth the ‘sacrifice’?

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Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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