Singapore Sports Scene

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Loh, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Commonwealth Games: Men's paddlers settle for silver after 1-3 loss to India
    Commonwealth Games: Men's paddlers settle for silver (yahoo.com)
    [​IMG]
    Chia Han Keong

    ·Editor
    Tue, 2 August 2022 at 11:16 pm·3-min read
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    Singapore paddlers Koen Pang (left) and Izaac Quek in action in the men's team final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (PHOTO: Commonwealth Games Singapore/Andy Chua)

    SINGAPORE — A day after stunning hosts England in the semi-finals, Singapore's men's table tennis team found defending champions India a step too far, as they were outplayed 1-3 in the final at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Tuesday (2 August).

    The silver-medal showing was nonetheless an encouraging development for the youthful team, who improved with each tie in the competition, culminating in the memorable 3-2 victory over top-seeded England.

    Facing an Indian side who had already beaten them 3-0 in the opening group stage, the doubles duo of Koen Pang, 20, and Izaac Quek, 17, tried to seize an early advantage, just like they did against England the day before.

    However, the India duo of Harmeet Desai and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran proved a step too far for the Singaporeans, as they took the first tie 13-11, 11-7, 11-5.

    Next up was Clarence Chew, the oldest member of the Singapore team at age 26, against India's oldest player, 40-year-old Sharath Kamal Achanta, who had been in scintillating form throughout the competition.

    However, Chew finally handed Achanta his first loss at the Games, attacking brilliantly to level the final with a 11-7, 12-14, 11-3, 11-9 win that briefly raised hopes that Singapore could pull off another upset.

    It was not to be, as Pang battled valiantly against Gnanasekaran in the third tie, but was unable to sustain an early momentum as he lost 10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 4-11.

    It was left to Chew to try and extend the tie to a fifth match, but he was easily subdued by Desai, who won 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 to clinch the gold-winning point for India.

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    Singapore's badminton mixed doubles pair Jessica Tan (front) and Terry Hee in action against England in the mixed team bronze-medal playoff at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (PHOTO: Commonwealth Games Singapore/Andy Chua)
    Shuttlers clinch team bronze, Shanti Pereira sets national record
    Singapore's shuttlers ended their mixed team competition on a high, beating England 3-0 to earn the bronze medal at the National Exhibition Centre.

    After losing 0-3 to India in the semi-finals on Monday, the mixed doubles duo of Terry Hee and Jessica Tan seized the initiative for Singapore this time around as they defeated Ben Lane and Lauren Smith 21-17, 25-23 to take the first point.

    Reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew was up next, and he had to endure a spirited resistance from Toby Penty before eventually eking out a narrow 23-25, 21-11, 25-23 win, collapsing in relief after Penty's final shot flew wide.

    It was left to Yeo Jia Min to clinch the winning point in the women's singles match, and she succeeded after beating Freya Redfearn 21-18, 21-14 to the delight of her teammates.

    At the Alexander Stadium, sprinter Shanti Pereira set a new national record in qualifying for the women's 100m semi-finals, clocking 11.48sec to eclipse her own 2019 mark of 11.58sec.

    The 25-year-old is enjoying a stellar year, after winning a silver medal in the same event in May's SEA Games in Hanoi, clocking 11.62sec. She had also won the 200m gold at the Games in a national record of 23.52sec.
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Commonwealth Games: Pereira breaks 2nd national record in 3 days, attributes resurgence to mindset change
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    National sprinter Shanti Pereira clocked 23.46 seconds during the heats in Birmingham on Aug 4, 2022. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
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    Kimberly Kwek

    PUBLISHED
    AUG 4, 2022, 9:37 PM SGT


    BIRMINGHAM - The last time national sprinter Shanti Pereira broke two national records at the same meet was at the 2015 SEA Games, where she won a historic 200m gold on home soil.

    After a tough seven years, the 25-year-old set two national records at the same competition again, this time at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

    She clocked 23.46 seconds to lower her 200m national mark by 0.06sec during the heats at the Alexander Stadium on Thursday (Aug 4), placing her 10th out of 36 and earning her a semi-final spot on Friday.

    On Tuesday, she also set a national 100m record of 11.48sec in the heats, where she finished 10th out of 36 runners, before exiting at the semi-final stage after a 11.57.

    Pereira, who won a gold and silver at this year’s SEA Games, has experienced a resurgence this year, which she attributed to a change in mindset.

    She said: “I’ve just been very hard on myself the past many years so just accepting that I’m on this path and I’m just really doing this for myself and my country and the people who matter in my life and ultimately just accepting that this is my own journey.

    “If there’s anything for someone to say, it should be me and not anybody else and that change in mindset is what really helped me perform.”

    In the past, she would often fixate on the things that went wrong, even if there were positives to take away too.

    Then, there was also pressure and expectations from other people.

    She said: “I took a while to accept that every athlete’s journey comes with expectations and pressure.

    "At that time, I wasn’t really mentally prepared for that so I always felt like I had to deliver and when I didn’t, it was like, ‘Oh my god, end of the world’.

    “People may say whatever they want but it’s my journey. Especially this year, I learnt to accept that pressure was just a part of what I do.”

    A month before May’s SEA Games, Pereira talked to her coach Luis Cunha in a bid to try and change the way she viewed her running because she did not want to keep feeling this way.

    “I would really just dwell on every bad training session and looking at the horrible parts instead of the good parts and that just continued and led on for many years,” said Pereira, who acknowledged that Cunha, along with her family and friends played a crucial role in helping her change her mindset.

    “I was always very afraid to compete just because I was scared to fail... so I really wanted to get rid of that.”

    While it is still something that she is working on, Pereira is pleased with the progress she has made.

    In the past, she would already go into races feeling defeated if the weather conditions were not ideal.

    Although the windy weather conditions at the Alexander Stadium were not favourable on Thursday, Pereira said: “It’s not that I’m perfect now – I’m still scared to run every race.

    “But I just take it a different way, like really just focusing on the things we can control going into every race.”
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    BEHIND EVERY ATHLETE IS A DEDICATED COACH
    https://heretoplay.com.sg/people/be...to_play_aug&utm_content=dedicated_coach_image

    Alexander Mordvincev shares his winning formula to training world-class swimmers.
    August 4, 2022

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    Alexander Mordvincev, National Training Centre Assistant Coach of Team Singapore to swimming siblings Quah Ting Wen, Quah Zheng Wen and Quah Jing Wen.

    After every medal win or a record-breaking performance, the cameras would focus on the triumphant athletes who react with jubilation, sometimes punching their fists in the air or bursting into tears of joy. But have you ever wondered about the people who train and support them; who are also often seen celebrating in the background?

    At the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus’ shock win saw the exuberant celebration of her coach Dean Boxall going viral worldwide. His exhilaration was understandable: coaches and backroom staff play a deeply significant role in athletes’ successes, often working with them for years to develop their potential and sporting skill.

    Closer to home, the Quah siblings have made waves in the last decade, hauling in a trove of medals at the SEA Games, Asian Games and Asian Youth Games. Together with their 21-year-old sister Jing Wen, eldest sibling Ting Wen, 28, and brother Zheng Wen, 24, have dominated the butterfly and freestyle events and smashed national records.

    Here to Play learns from 34-year-old Alexander Mordvincev — the man currently training Ting Wen, Zheng Wen and Jing Wen at OCBC Aquatic Centre — what it takes to be a gold standard coach.

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    Coach Alexander Mordvincev was a professional swimmer and water polo player in his younger days.

    How did you get involved in swimming?

    My father is a water polo and swim coach; he was the one who inspired me to start because we always went swimming together. I was a professional swimmer, first in Ukraine and then in Hungary during my adolescent to adult years. I also played water polo in a Hungarian league.

    How would you describe your own experience of being coached?

    Eastern European coaches are generally harsh, but I was lucky that when I moved to Hungary, my coach became a mentor figure and a role model to me. I always relied on him –we could be friendly outside the pool and it was easy to have conversations with him about anything. He always had a way to make things fun, even when they were extremely hard. His dedication and warmth as a fatherly figure provided much mentorship to quite a number of Olympic-class athletes and medallists who were my teammates and friends.

    How has your mentor influenced your coaching style?

    My coaching style is democratic. I believe each adult athlete should always have the opportunity to share their thoughts, vision and goals, and work closely with their coaches to achieve their ultimate goal.

    With the Quah siblings, I try to create an environment where they feel comfortable, challenged and safe at the same time. We talk through our main goals, analyse races and decide what and how we can improve, to get the best performance when it matters. However, as a coach, I have the experience to make the right final decision based on feedback and my own observation — there must be a healthy balance between authority and mutual respect to achieve a strong working relationship. That is the foundation of effective coaching and team success.

    How did you become the Quahs’ coach?

    I’ve known the Quah siblings since 2012, when I had a chance to work with them for about two years when I was volunteering for Gary Tan (currently Singapore’s National Swimming Head Coach) at Swim Fast Aquatic Club. I restarted a working relationship with the siblings from August 2021 after I joined the National Training Centre .

    The Quahs are the most talented and hardworking athletes I’ve ever coached. They have a natural feel of the water. They are role models — humble, respectful and extremely motivated – and they know exactly what they want from swimming.

    [​IMG]
    Coach Alexander Mordvincev with Quah Ting Wen at the 31st SEA Games 2021.

    How do you motivate yourself and others?

    I am motivated by challenge. I believe in a progressive approach, and I work through each area of our training cycle while breaking the goals down into smaller segments. Our athletes’ progress, development and well-being are indicators of success of the strategic training plan, and can help to ascertain if we’re on the right track.

    Athletes should always understand objectives and know what the plan is for the season and the approach towards their main goals. They should also have responsibility and accountability for outcomes. Having good communication with my athletes helps me to understand them better, and enables the decisions that I make to reap potentially greater results.

    Can you share some highlights from your coaching stint?

    It was a high with the Quahs when we broke or met records together at the SEA Games and the Singapore National Swimming Championships. We also surpassed some long-lasting personal best times and won several gold medals at the SEA Games.

    What about the lows? How do you deal with them?

    There will always be low points in every sporting career and we must inspire our athletes to persevere. To always be in top form is pretty much impossible. However, overcoming a low point is not an overnight fix. It takes a lot of trust and a safe environment for athletes to feel vulnerable. We must tell them that they should not be afraid of failure; that to overcome the lows, we have to remember what our final goal is together. At the same time, we must instil in them the courage to dream big.

    Right now, what would you say are some of your biggest influences?

    Singapore. It is the place where I would say my life began. It’s a country that allows you to dream big and be somebody, if you work hard. I have a good career and a good life here.

    My wife also influences a part of who I am — namely, the person I want to be. I am a better coach with her by my side and she inspires me with her hard work and dedication to everything she does in her life. She pushes boundaries and she always challenges me to do better.

    What does it take to be a good coach?

    I believe a positive coach-athlete relationship is the main key to success in the athlete’s growth, their overall performance at the pool and in their career beyond swimming. A coach should always be approachable, and athletes should feel that we are here for them when they need us.

    5 MORE TIPS TO BEING A GOOD COACH

    … According to Alexander Mordvincev.
    • Enjoy the process
    • Be yourself
    • Be genuine
    • Trust your instincts
    • Don’t always be fixated on results — sometimes small things can be more valuable than big ones
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Commonwealth Games: Leaner and meaner, Zeng primed to battle Feng for gold - and mantle of Singapore No. 1
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    Feng Tianwei (left) and Zeng Jian will meet in today's singles final. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
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    David Lee

    PUBLISHED
    11 HOURS AGO

    BIRMINGHAM - Unlike some of her China-born predecessors, Zeng Jian's table tennis career path in Singapore has been a lot more modest.

    Born in Hunan and developed in Beijing, she arrived in Singapore only as a sparring partner in 2014, but did well enough to be recruited under the nation's Foreign Talent Sports Scheme and received citizenship in 2019.

    Her love for sport was obvious early on. She started playing table tennis from age six and also indulged in football and basketball. An only child, her parents respected her desire to pursue sport at a professional level, even if it meant her moving to another country.

    Last year, she went to the Tokyo Olympics, but as a reserve. Her major Games debut at this year's SEA Games was a baptism of fire as she lost three finals. At each juncture though, she did not throw in the towel, and continued working hard.

    The reward for her determination: She has been on fire at the Commonwealth Games, having bagged a women's team gold and is assured of at least a silver in the women's singles. She and Clarence Chew will also play Australia's Nicholas Lum and Jee Min-hyung for the mixed doubles bronze on Sunday while she and Feng Tianwei will meet Wales' Charlotte Carey and Anna Hursey in the women's doubles.

    That persistence was on full display on Saturday (Aug 6), when she trailed Australia's Liu Yangzi by two games in their women's singles semi-final before fighting back for a 4-2 (7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9) win to leave her 72nd-ranked opponent in tears.

    "It was too tense and exciting," said the 25-year-old, who admires Chinese two-time Olympic champion Ma Long for his consistently high performance levels and passion for table tennis.

    "I didn't have time to think about much other than to take it point by point. I'm surprised I have been playing so well."

    The world No. 60 should not have been surprised after putting in the hard yards. National women's coach Jing Junhong shared how Zeng's training load increased by 30 per cent - which translates to extending her daily practice sessions from five to six hours - after the SEA Games disappointment, which led to the player shedding 3kg.

    Jing, who was sweating after the intense match which turned after a timeout called when Zeng was 4-3 down in the third game, said: "Being leaner means she is more nimble around the table, and it was also about improving the quality and consistency of her shots. That she was able to handle these demands speaks volumes about her stress management abilities.

    Her opponent today played very well to mask her forehand weaknesses but Zeng Jian did very well with her back against the wall to step up and apply more pressure within the first three strokes."

    Zeng will battle Feng for the women's singles gold on Sunday after the world No. 16 also pulled through an epic semi-final against India's 76th-ranked Sreeja Akula on the adjacent Show Court 1 at the National Exhibition Centre.

    Feng was up three games to two but found herself 4-1 and 8-7 down in the decider before eking out a 4-3 (11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10) victory to set up an intriguing final with her teammate.

    The gold will be decided between two attacking players, who are equally formidable with forehand and backhand and also familiar with each other. In their only previous meeting, Feng won 4-3 at the 2017 China Open.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Feng, Zeng make table tennis women's singles final an all-S'pore affair
    Commonwealth Games: Zeng Jian wins 5 matches and leads Singapore table tennis' medal hopes

    The final could also mark the passing on of the mantle of Singapore's No. 1 woman player.

    The moment is not lost on the 35-year-old Feng, who said: "Zeng Jian is in the prime of her career, and her form here has been great. We will give our all in the final, but I'm very happy to help Singapore secure a 1-2 finish, which to me is mission accomplished."

    Assessing her semi-final, she admitted that the match against a player ranked 60 places below her had been "very tough". "My opponent played well and made me commit many unforced errors," she said. "I was frazzled but the key was, I didn't give up. She had the upper hand in a match that went the distance, but I had the experience and determination to overcome the difficult situation."

    In the other matches, Izaac Quek lost 4-0 to India's Sharath Kamal Achanta in the men's singles quarter-finals. Ethan Poh and Chew fell 3-1 to England's Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford in the men's doubles and will challenge Australia's Finn Luu and Lum for the bronze on Sunday. Wong Xin Ru and Zhou Jingyi will meet Australia's Lay Jian Fang and Jee in the women's doubles semi-finals, after they beat India's Reeth Tennison and Akula 3-1.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Commonwealth Games: Meet Wales' Anna Hursey, the 'Greta Thunberg of table tennis'
    Commonwealth Games: Teen paddlers Izaac Quek, Zhou Jingyi make their mark in Birmingham
     
  5. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Commonwealth Games: Teen paddlers Izaac Quek, Zhou Jingyi make their mark in Birmingham
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    Singapore paddlers Zhou Jingyi (left) and Izaac Quek pose for pictures in Birmingham, on Aug 3, 2022. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
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    Kimberly Kwek

    PUBLISHED
    AUG 4, 2022, 6:36 PM SGT

    BIRMINGHAM - An injection of youthful exuberance has helped Singapore's men's and women's table tennis teams in their Commonwealth Games medal hunts, offering optimism for future silverware.

    Izaac Quek and Zhou Jingyi, 16 and 17 respectively, may be the youngest paddlers from either squad but both have impressed with their matured performances.

    After being overlooked for selection at the Hanoi SEA Games in May, Izaac has seized his chance in Birmingham where he is making his major Games debut.

    He won both his doubles and singles match in the group stage and featured four times in the knockout rounds, posting a commendable two wins and two losses.

    He and teammates Clarence Chew, Ethan Poh and Koen Pang also battled bravely in the 3-1 defeat by India in the gold medal match on Tuesday (Aug 2).

    Izaac,who became the first Singaporean to top the Under-15 boys' world ranking list in April last year, said: "It's very satisfying if you win, not only just by your abilities, but also using your brain to think, how to outplay or counter my opponent.

    "Although I've played it for so many years, I still find new things to learn. It's a very creative sport... so that's what keeps me motivated."

    After a rest day on Wednesday, he returned fired up on Thursday, partnering Jingyi in the mixed doubles as they easily beat South Africans Shaun Jones and Musfiquh Kalam 3-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-3) in the opening round of 64.

    But their mixed doubles campaign ended in the round of 32 after they lost to England’s Liam Pitchford and Ho Tin-Tin 3-2 (7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11).

    Jingyi, who won all seven of her matches in the women's team event as she, Feng Tianwei, Zeng Jian and Wong Xin Ru reclaimed the gold medal, is fully committed to her chosen path.

    She graduated from the Singapore Sports School's polytechnic through-train programme last year but has put her studies on hold to focus on table tennis.

    Jingyi, who clinched two silver medals at the recent SEA Games, said: "Everyone knows not everything goes smoothly, there are bound to be ups and downs. I know I'm doing this for myself, I have the passion for this game and it's something that I want to do and need to do."

    Izaac, who picked up the sport at seven, could take a similar route. The Singapore Sports School student is planning to take a gap year to focus on next year's SEA Games in Cambodia and September's Asian Games in Hangzhou.

    Both teenagers have enjoyed success in their early careers, winning several World Table Tennis youth events, they acknowledged that competing at the senior level is a different challenge but are determined to realise their dreams of competing at the Olympic Games one day.

    Their respective coaches are cautiously optimistic. Gao Ning, national men's team coach, noted that Izaac "has a good feel for the competition environment and grasp of his opponents' technical abilities" while his backhand attack is his biggest strength.

    But the three-time Olympian added that there was still plenty of work needed for Izaac's forehand strength and application as well as physical conditioning.

    Head coach of the national women's table tennis team Jing Junhong praised Jingyi's mental strength, particularly given her inexperience at major Games where the quality of opponents was higher than at youth tournaments.

    She said: "The bigger the stress, the stronger she bounces off it, and this is a quality I feel every elite athlete must have. From a technical point of view, she still has to level up in many areas through competitions.

    "As she enters senior competition, this is a good start but there is no instant success. She will need to learn how to manage setbacks and defeats.

    "Ups and downs are inevitable and we need to be here for her, help her set and achieve short-term milestones and long-term targets along the way."

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Commonwealth Games: Women's table tennis team deliver first gold for S'pore after beating Malaysia
    Commonwealth Games: S'pore get silver lining in table tennis men's team final
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Feng Tianwei becomes Singapore's most decorated athlete at Commonwealth Games as Birmingham 2022 wraps up
    Feng Tianwei's tally of 13 medals at the Games eclipsed former national table tennis player Li Jiawei's haul of 10.

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    Singapore's Feng Tianwei after receiving the gold medal in the table tennis women's singles event at the Commonwealth Games on Aug 7, 2022. (Photo: AP/Aijaz Rahi)

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    Firdaus Hamzah
    09 Aug 2022 12:27AM(Updated: 09 Aug 2022 12:27AM)

    SINGAPORE: Team Singapore's Feng Tianwei has become the nation's most successful athlete at the Commonwealth Games with a total haul of 13 medals.

    Three of those were gold medals from this year's edition of the Games in Birmingham, where she helped Singapore complete a clean sweep in the women's team, singles and doubles events.

    Feng's overall medal tally also makes her the most decorated table tennis player at the Games, said the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) on Monday (Aug 8).

    Her medal collection includes two golds and two silvers from Delhi in 2010, three golds from Glasgow in 2014, as well as one gold, one silver and one bronze from the 2018 Gold Coast Games.

    She overtook former national table tennis player Li Jiawei's tally of 10 medals in the record books.

    Singapore's overall medal haul for the 2022 Games was 12, comprising four gold, four silver and four bronze from events in table tennis, badminton and swimming.

    Singapore finished 14th out of 72 countries and territories in the overall medal tally.
     
  7. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Feng Tianwei tears up as 'Majulah Singapura' plays at 2022 Commonwealth Games
    Feng Tianwei tears up as 'Majulah Singapura' plays at 2022 Commonwealth Games - Mothership.SG - News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

    Feng, 35, had made a stunning comeback and beat her compatriot, Zeng, 25, for the gold in the all Singaporean final.

    Lean Jinghui | [​IMG] August 08, 2022, 06:05 PM

    [​IMG]
    Singaporean Feng Tianwei defied the odds on Sunday, Aug. 7 to clinch the gold medal against her compatriot Zeng Jian in the table tennis women's singles event.

    In a video posted by CNA, which has since garnered over 7,200 reacts and over 149,000 views, Feng, 35, was seen getting visibly emotional as she stood on the podium, as Singapore's national anthem played in the background at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

    Feng was seen tearing up and struggling to hold back tears, as she mouthed the lyrics of the national anthem and watched the national flag rise in honour of her gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

    A hard-fought medal
    Feng's gold medal is her third in the event, after 2010 in New Delhi and 2014 in Glasgow. In 2018, she had to settle for bronze in the games at Gold Coast.

    In a dramatic comeback at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Feng used all of her experience to fight tooth and nail, in order to eke out a victory against Zeng, 25, who is 10 years her junior.

    Despite having to cope with several injuries, Feng pushed on to regain the three-game lead set by Zeng, in the all-Singaporean finals, to win 4-3.

    In response to Feng's win and outpouring of emotion on the podium, most commenters were overwhelmingly positive.

    [​IMG]Via CNA Facebook

    [​IMG]Via CNA Facebook
    [​IMG]Via CNA Facebook

    Several individuals also thanked Feng for her contributions to the Singapore table tennis scene over the years, and commended her on her never-say-die attitude during the game.

    [​IMG]Via CNA Facebook
    [​IMG]Via CNA Facebook

    15 years in service
    For the uninitiated, Feng has been on Singapore's table tennis team since 2007, when she made her international debut for Singapore as an under-21 player at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Pro Tour Volkswagen Korean Open.

    Feng, who was born in Harbin, China, first moved to Singapore at the age of 20, under the former Foreign Sports Talent Scheme in March 2007.

    She went on to win several medals for Singapore, including a historic silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games, with fellow teammates Lee Jiawei and Wang Yuegu. The medal marked the first time Singapore had won an Olympic medal since its independence in 1965.

    Feng, who has three Olympic medals under her belt, subsequently won the bronzes in the singles and team events in the 2012 Olympics.

    However, in 2016, Feng was dropped from the national squad in Singapore.

    The association said then that she did not fit into the Singapore Table Tennis Association's (STTA) “plans for rejuvenation”.

    She was later selected to represent the country again in the 2017 SEA Games.

    According to the Singapore Olympics website, eight golds, three silvers and a bronze makes Feng the Commonwealth Games’ most decorated paddler thus far.
     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    'Very touched and grateful': Feng Tianwei greeted by scores of supporters at Changi Airport
    "Being able to win for the country and see the Singapore flag and hear the national anthem play was a very good feeling,” said Team Singapore’s Feng Tianwei.

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    Feng Tianwei and Singapore Table Tennis Association President Ellen Lee at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
    Team Singapore athletes were given a warm welcome home on Wednesday (Aug 10) when they arrived at Changi Airport following the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Lauren Ong and Alif Amsyar with more.

    10 Aug 2022 07:22PM(Updated: 10 Aug 2022 11:11PM)

    SINGAPORE: A sea of supporters erupted in a raucous cheer as Team Singapore’s Feng Tianwei returned home on Wednesday (Aug 10) evening.

    The crowd of around 100 people held up banners and excitedly thumped their balloon clappers together as Feng and her teammates walked out of the arrival gate at Changi Airport Terminal 3 just after 6pm.

    Sixty children aged nine to 12 from the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) junior team lined up on both sides to form a walkway.

    The children, who had been waiting for the team’s arrival for nearly an hour, shouted: "Welcome Back to Singapore!"

    But the loudest cheers were reserved for Feng, who bagged three gold medals in the women's team, singles and doubles events at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

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    Feng Tianwei poses for a photo at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022 after her return from the 2022 Commonwealth Games. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
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    Feng Tianwei and Singapore Table Tennis Association President Ellen Lee at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
    Her Singapore Airlines flight SQ319 touched down just after 5pm, while her teammates arrived five minutes after her on Lufthansa flight LH 778 at 5.05pm.

    Fans rushed up to Feng as she emerged, eager to snap a picture with the athlete and get her autograph.

    Feng’s latest win brings her total medal haul to 13, putting her ahead of former national table tennis player Li Jiawei's tally of 10. This makes her Singapore’s most successful athlete at the Commonwealth Games.

    The 35-year-old’s medal collection includes two golds and two silvers from Delhi in 2010, three golds from Glasgow in 2014, as well as one gold, one silver and one bronze from the 2018 Gold Coast Games.

    According to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), her overall medal tally also makes her the most decorated table tennis player at the Games.

    On Monday, Feng received another honour, becoming the first Singaporean as well as table tennis athlete to win the David Dixon Award for outstanding athlete at the Commonwealth Games.

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    Feng Tianwei, Singapore Table Tennis Association President Ellen Lee and Singapore Table Tennis Association deputy president Poh Li San at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
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    Feng Tianwei speaking to the media upon her return from the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
     
    #748 Loh, Aug 10, 2022
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2022
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    "I NEVER GAVE UP"
    Speaking to reporters at Changi Airport, Feng said she never expected to win so many awards.


    During the finals of the women’s single match against Team Singapore’s Zeng Jian, Feng came back from three sets down to beat Zeng 4-3 in the all-Singapore final.

    “I never gave up even when the tally was 0-3, I just fought for every point and very surprised that I was able to overturn the results,” said Feng.

    “I’m still very excited about the results and haven’t been able to calm down since."

    “Looking at all the people who came here to support me at the airport, it also makes me feel very touched and grateful for all their support over the years,” she added.

    Recalling the moment where she teared as Singapore's National Anthem played in the background at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, Feng said she was feeling emotional.

    “Having represented Singapore for so many years and being able to win for the country and see the Singapore flag and hear the National Anthem play was a very good feeling,” she said.

    As for her next steps, Feng, who looked visibly weary on Wednesday, said she plans to rest and recharge over the next few weeks.

    “I have been coughing and my body hasn’t been feeling well, so I think I will just rest for a bit.”

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    Feng Tianwei signing a table tennis paddle at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

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    Feng Tianwei signing autographs on her return from the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

    When asked if she was planning to retire, Feng said she was still thinking about her plans for the future but did not elaborate further.

    Singapore won a total of 12 medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, comprising four gold, four silver and four bronze from events in table tennis, badminton and swimming.

    The country finished 14th out of 72 countries and territories in the overall medal tally.

    Among the supporters on Wednesday were Mr Fazli Mohamad and Mr Henry Ong, both of whom had taken leave from work to greet the team at Changi Airport.

    Mr Fazli, who was decked in red from head to toe, was surrounded by colourful balloons and banners with pictures of Feng and Singapore badminton athlete Jessica Tan, as well as bags containing soft toys.

    “I’ve been supporting Feng since the 2012 Olympics and in fact, I actually showed up at the airport to greet her then too,” said the 38-year-old, who had been at the airport since 3pm on Wednesday.

    “I’m also very proud of Jessica and her husband, especially their win in the Badminton mixed doubles.”

    Meanwhile, Mr Ong told CNA that he had rushed down from work to catch a glimpse of the athletes.

    “I took half day from work because I wanted to come down here to show support for the team,” said the 42-year-old IT project manager.

    “Their performance was really awesome, and they all showed very good spirit during the games.”

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    Feng Tianwei and Singapore Table Tennis Association President Ellen Lee hug Singapore Table Tennis Association deputy president Poh Li San at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)
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    Feng Tianwei and Singapore Table Tennis Association President Ellen Lee at Changi Airport on Aug 10, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

    Source: CNA/zl
     
  10. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    C'wealth Games: S'pore 'overperformed' as badminton, table tennis, swimming get kudos
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    (Clockwise from top left) Feng Tianwei, Terry Hee, Jessica Tan, Teong Tzen Wei, Yeo Jia Min. PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO, AFP
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    Kimberly Kwek

    PUBLISHED
    AUG 8, 2022, 11:54 PM SGT

    BIRMINGHAM - Heading into this year's Commonwealth Games, Richard Gordon, Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) senior director and head of high performance and athlete life, had concerns about how Singapore would fare in Birmingham.

    Shooting, a sport that has brought in 23 medals since 2006, was not included this time and 50 of Singapore's 66-athlete contingent were making their debuts.

    But those worries were laid to rest as the Republic's athletes finished their Commonwealth Games campaign with 12 medals - four gold, four silver and four bronze.

    It was three more than the nine medals won at the 2018 edition on the Gold Coast, though Singapore had one more gold in Australia. The Republic's best showing at the Games was in Delhi in 2010, when the athletes won 11 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze medals.

    Gordon said at a post-mortem of Singapore's performance on Monday (Aug 8): "I will say quite openly that we've overperformed on the targets. I was very nervous about coming to the Commonwealth Games as to how it could've turned out.

    "Thankfully, it hasn't. We've performed very well in relation to the targets."

    He singled out badminton, table tennis and swimming as those that impressed at the Games, pointing to how their various national sports associations had prepared the athletes well by providing them with opportunities to go for overseas training stints ahead of the competition

    The paddlers also enjoyed a successful outing, winning three golds, two silvers and two bronzes, with veteran Feng Tianwei winning titles in all three events she took part in.

    He also highlighted the achievements of the swimmers, who brought home two silvers courtesy of Teong Tzen Wei (men's 50m butterfly) and Toh Wei Soong (men's S7 50m freestyle).

    Beyond medals, he was pleased with the swimmers' progress as they qualified for seven semi-finals and 19 finals.

    Singapore's shuttlers bagged three medals this time, including a historic gold in the mixed doubles from Terry Hee and Jessica Tan.

    Yeo Jia Min's bronze in the women's singles was the first medal in the event since 2002, while the shuttlers also clinched bronze in the mixed team.

    Their campaign, however, was also hit by world champion Loh Kean Yew's exit in the men's singles quarter-finals. But Gordon was not unduly worried and believes the 25-year-old has the support needed to achieve his goal of a podium finish at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Commonwealth Games: Feng Tianwei bags 3rd gold in table tennis women's doubles
    C'wealth Games: Yeo Jia Min wins S'pore's first badminton women's singles medal since 2002

    Gordon said: "There are things that he will learn from this and every competition. He is aiming for a big prize.

    "We've helped to employ a very experienced technical director who is doing a great job and we're very confident that he is in good hands moving forward."

    With a breakthrough performance by world No. 35 Hee and Tan, Gordon believes that they can look towards more than just qualifying for the Olympics and challenge for a spot in the top eight, and even a medal.

    The Asian Games in Hangzhou are up next year and he acknowledged that it will not be easy given the competition in Asia, but reiterated that SSI would work closely with the Singapore Badminton Association to support them.

    He said: "That (next year's Asian Games) is an important stepping stone. We will talk to them along with the technical director and coaches as to the type of support they will need to give them the best possible chance of qualifying for the Olympic Games.

    "Based upon the evidence I've seen this past week, I don't see why they can't challenge for top eight, but that depends on whether we can get their world rankings up and that's dependent on their ability to compete around the circuit over the course of the next two years. But we will do everything to support them in that quest."

    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
    Commonwealth Games: S'pore clinch historic badminton mixed doubles gold after beating England
    Heavy is the head that wears the crown: S'pore's shuttler Loh Kean Yew on his struggles with form
     
  11. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Sporting Life: In a competitive world one truth prevails - evolve or step aside
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    Rohit Brijnath
    Assistant Sports Editor
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    Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew has admitted that he has been struggling with his form. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

    PUBLISHED
    AUG 8, 2022, 5:37 PM SGT

    Nothing is safe in sport. Not form or confidence. Nothing is inevitable. Not victory or place in history. Nothing is enough. Not the tactic you own or muscle you’ve built or trophies your nation has.

    Just ask the All Blacks.

    Nothing you did in December is good enough in August. Nothing said in praise of you lasts in the heat of competition. Nothing is guaranteed in sport except that there’s someone plotting to take you down right this minute somewhere in the world.

    Just ask the gifted Loh Kean Yew.

    Nothing is certain except that your dream is not the only one. There’s a line from here till Pluto of people chasing the same thing you are. If you’re not patient, they will be. Competition is thicker than any encyclopedia on greatness.

    A South African won the Women’s British Open, the first Major winner from her nation in 34 years. Ashleigh Buhai is 33, turned pro in 2007, had never won an LPGA Tour title, has been buffeted by the high winds of sport but stayed the course. “This game has a way of giving you a hard time,” she said. “I’m just so proud of how I’ve stuck it out.”

    Nothing stays the same in sport which is why Loh is in the process of adjusting, adding, learning. He knows that if you’re not fitter than everyone, it’s only your fault. If you don’t have a plan C, there’s no one to blame. If you can’t take the weight of the moment, there’s no one to hold your hand. Nothing in sport ever allows you to be comfortable.

    Nothing is as precious as the ability to evolve. Tiger Woods never had a swing he didn’t want to tinker with while Rafael Nadal is a masterpiece always under construction. In 2005, he was a one-dimensional, forehand-heavy, average-serving, baseline-rooted defensive fellow who ran for everything. In 2022, he has a sharper backhand, wicked serve, a point-amputating volley, an aggressive spirit and still runs for everything.

    Nothing is as deadly in sport as complacency. No one concedes they are and yet it leaks in and corrodes talent. You think you have time but you don’t. You think your ideas are sound but they may not have aged well. You think the game is in good hands till you can’t catch a pass.

    No one trembles any more before dynasties, they’re just inspired to end them. When the All Blacks, this great wall of sustained brilliance, lost a single match it was enough to spill your beer. Two consecutive losses warranted a panic. Now it’s three in a row – the first time since 1998 – and time for a national inquiry.

    According to the School Sport NZ Representation Census 2021, change is under way. In 2000, 30,621 students represented their school in rugby union in New Zealand and 16,471 in basketball. In 2021, it was 24,299 for rugby and 24,850 for basketball. The point is the All Blacks’ resurrection is a little more complicated than a new coach.

    Brazil lost its grip on football – one World Cup semi-final in the last 20 years – and the West Indies on cricket. Dynasties topple in slow motion and it is agonising to watch and yet oddly beautiful. We mourn the end of domination yet embrace the coming of the new.

    Nothing is as heartening for us, and scary for rivals, as the multiplication of talent. At the 1998 Commonwealth Games, 34 nations won medals. This time in Birmingham that number is 44. That sound which athletes hear, it’s a wider world breathing as they close in on them. It’s Teong Tzen Wei of Singapore in the 50m butterfly and Avinash Sable of India in the 3,000m steeplechase.

    The steeplechase had been turned into a Kenyan-members only private club. They went 1-2-3 at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and repeated that feat in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018. Then Sable, a farmer’s son from India, which has no history in the event, shadowed three Kenyans in Birmingham. He overtook one, passed the second and almost caught the third at the line. For anyone who thought the world was out of reach, this was hope in a blue vest.

    “I had to prove,” said Sable to India’s The Sportstar, speaking almost on behalf of anyone from a country who’s been overlooked, “that at the international level we aren’t any lesser than anyone be it the Kenyans or Ethiopians. Nothing is impossible.”

    Then he added something profound.

    “Nothing is bigger than effort.”

    And as the sporting world turns meaner, harder, scarier, deeper, where everyone’s dissecting you, breaking you down, studying your stats, solving you, criticising you, demanding of you, effort is really the only thing in an athlete’s control. So reset the alarm. Get up an hour earlier.

    Nothing is stopping you.

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    Sporting Life: What sport sticks in the memory? Raw, testing and immortal
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Table tennis: STTA chief Lee to retire on a high after Commonwealth Games
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    Feng Tianwei carrying the Singapore flag during the Birmingham Commonwealth Games closing ceremony at Alexander Stadium, on Aug 8, 2022. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
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    David Lee

    PUBLISHED
    AUG 9, 2022, 5:39 PM SGT

    BIRMINGHAM - Outgoing Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Ellen Lee has called the recently concluded Commonwealth Games campaign the proudest moment in her eight-year tenure.

    The 65-year-old lawyer will step down after serving the maximum of four two-year terms, and it is understood her deputy and Member of Parliament Poh Li San will run for the presidency at its annual general meeting on Aug 29.

    Lee believes she leaves behind a cohesive team of coaches and players who will be able to overcome challenges and maintain or even surpass their current levels.

    Against all odds, as well as new and old threats from Australia, England, India and Wales, the national paddlers claimed three gold, two silver and two bronze medals to improve by one bronze from the 2018 edition.

    Unbeknown to many, numerous team members contracted Covid-19 during their three-week training camp in Linz, Austria. They include players Feng Tianwei, Ethan Poh, Koen Pang, national men's coach Gao Ning and other national players who were not part of the Games contingent. Yet, they stepped up in Birmingham.

    Lee said: "This ending is beyond expectation because I took over a strong team when I started and then we entered a transition phase along the way with new and younger players coming in.

    "There's always the hope they will be able to succeed during this transition, and they have proven at these Games they have the ability to do so at this level. I'm also glad that all the development plans we have for them over all these years have been well executed.

    "We are working harmoniously together, we don't have to contend with infighting, or any major divergence of views, that's why we were able to produce this result."

    On Poh's potential candidacy, she said: "She has served well as deputy president. With her background as a military helicopter pilot, she must have the guts and courage to take on very challenging situations."

    When Lee took over from her predecessor Lee Bee Wah in 2014, Singapore table tennis was on a high after a successful foreign talent recruitment yielded three Olympic medals.

    But since then the Olympic medals have dried up and their Commonwealth and regional dominance has waned with the gradual phasing out and retirements of the China-born players.

    In 2015, Feng Tianwei and the recently retired Yu Mengyu requested for a change in the women's team coach and Jing Junhong was replaced in a coaching shake-up.

    A year later, after they returned empty-handed from the Rio 2016 Olympics, the STTA sensationally axed Feng. In the years that followed, both parties have rebuilt a cordial working relationship.

    With Birmingham 2022 triple-gold medallist and three-time Olympic medallist Feng indicating these will be her last Games, and national women's coach Jing acknowledging a big gap is waiting to be filled, Ellen is optimistic the younger players "can step up to do the job".

    She said: "They have it in them. They have known that they will be filling the void. We don't have Mengyu over here and Lin Ye is injured, but the younger ones have stepped up to the challenge. When the stage is given to them, I have no doubt that they will be able to perform, and we can always hope to win medals."

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    Feng Tianwei (left) and Zeng Jian with their women's doubles gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Aug 8, 2022. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
    MORE ON THIS TOPIC
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    However, the outgoing chief also urged patience and pragmatism.

    She said: "There will always be ups and downs, but given time and encouragement, they should be able to fill the void.

    "We will give them as many opportunities as possible to get sparring partners from other countries to help them out because after all we are a small country with a limited pool.

    "We also have to provide as many opportunities as possible for those who have the ability and talent to compete and give a good account of themselves and make the association and Singapore proud."

    She also shared that while STTA is not averse to recruiting more foreign-born talents, this initiative is "subject to existing regulations and policies".

    "If we can have foreign-born players - and the best are from China - who can share their expertise and give our local-born players a good challenge, it will be good for Singapore table tennis," she said.

    "But having more foreign-born players or not is something that is not within our control as we are subject to policies in place. It cannot be wishful thinking on our part. In any case, we have got our developmental pathways in place, and we are always looking to have breakthroughs."

    She is looking forward to entering a business venture dealing with health and wellness and doing more volunteer work in addition to her role as president of Silver Ribbon, a non-profit organisation that advocates mental health. But her heart, and support, will always be with Singapore table tennis.

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    Sporting Life: In a competitive world one truth prevails - evolve or step aside
     

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