“My heart is full of gratitude for being here”: Yu Mengyu reflects on his outstanding performance at the Tokyo Olympics


SINGAPORE: Yu Mengyu is still unaware of his new popularity.

“Did I (become a household name?) I don’t think so. I haven’t really paid too much attention to what’s being said online, ”she told CNA in an interview on Saturday July 31st.

“What I do know is that I had a lot more followers on Instagram,” she added with a laugh.

“I am very happy that more people can know and understand me. “

The 31-year-old’s fourth place finish at the Tokyo Olympics in women’s singles captured the hearts and minds of many.

But more importantly, it was his resolute fighting spirit against some of the best players in the world that really resonated with a lot of people.

“I was very surprised (by the reaction) because since the start of the competition I never really paid much attention to what was in the media.

“But after that last match of the singles competition, a lot of people texted me – including some of my friends – and that’s when I went to check out Instagram and Facebook,” a- she declared.

“Before that I wanted to have fun and not think too much about the competition so I only watched makeup videos and movies online!”

NEVER GIVE UP

We are Thursday morning July 29th.

The women’s singles semi-finals of the Olympic Table Tennis Games at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

There is collective silence in an already silent arena as Yu collapses to the ground.

The Singaporean – 47th seed – is already three games behind and now 1-4 in the fourth against China’s world number 1 – Chen Meng.

Things are not looking good.

Yet a few minutes later, Yu cautiously gets up from the ground. She shoots a certain number of points to get closer to her opponent.

But Chen would eventually walk away and win the match.

In the post-game interview after her loss, Yu revealed that she suffered a strained thigh muscle. “It’s nothing,” she added.

Later that night, Yu climbs to the table again and stretches third-ranked Japanese Mima Ito in the bronze medal match, before finally succumbing 4-1.

“When I got the injury, I didn’t give up. I wanted to work hard again because of my dreams. It could help encourage others and have a positive impact, ”said Yu, reflecting on his singles performances.

Suffering from a multitude of injuries over the past few years, including to the shoulder and waist, Yu has almost quit smoking before.

Singaporean Yu Mengyu receives medical treatment during her table tennis women’s singles semi-final match against China’s Chen Meng at the Tokyo Olympics on July 29, 2021 (Photo: AP / Kin Cheung)

“It is the support of my family that allowed me to continue, as well as the advice and help of the STTA (Singapore Table Tennis Association), which gave me hope to continue,” he said. -she explains.

And before the Olympics, his goal was not to win but to be able to compete in the biggest sports arena in the world.

“When I came here my mindset was very simple – being able to compete in the Olympics was already a victory,” she said.

“There was no pressure on me to participate in these Games because of my injuries. I am already very grateful to be able to participate in the Olympic Games. “

And with the pressure released, Yu soared.

She won a 4-0 victory over Portugal’s Shao Jieni early in the tournament, before toppling Chinese Taipei’s world number 8, Cheng I-Ching.

In the quarter-finals, the Singaporean recorded her biggest surprise to date, beating Japan’s fifth seed Kasumi Ishikawa 4-1.

“(I felt this approach has) helped. Instead of having other thoughts in my head, I was more focused and could participate well in every game, ”said Yu.

READ: Injured in Olympic semi-final, Singaporean Yu Mengyu promises to fight

During the last edition of the Games in Rio, Yu also reached the quarter-finals, before being eliminated by North Korean Kim Song-I.

“In Rio, I wanted to fight with the team and try to win a medal to bring home to Singapore. But maybe at the time there was a lot of pressure on us and the performances were disappointing, ”she said.

HIS LAST OLYMPIC GAMES

Yu still has the women’s team event to compete in the Olympics.

Singapore will face France in its opener on Monday, and if it wins, a showdown with China awaits it.

“All the teams that have qualified for the Olympics are all of a very high level, so we’ll take it game by game,” Yu said.

“So it is better not to think about how to face the Chinese team, but rather to fight with the France team first.”

But Yu noted that this will be his last Olympics.

“I have already made the decision (that this will be my last Olympics), I made the decision before the Games. had to face it will be difficult for me to continue, ”she said.

“Injuries could affect my movements during training as well as during competition… and make life difficult. It is not a question of age.

Table tennis at the Tokyo Olympics

Singaporean Yu Mengyu celebrates after winning the round of 16 women’s table tennis singles against American Liu Juan at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 in Tokyo. (AP Photo / Kin Cheung)

Hours after losing to Ito in Thursday’s women’s table tennis singles bronze medal match, Yu shared a photo of herself with a simple caption.

One of the lines in the caption read: “Life can’t be perfect for everything. A life with a little regret is real life.

Yu’s regret, she says, is that she didn’t win a medal for Singapore in the singles. But she knows there is more to it.

“Which athlete comes to the Olympics and doesn’t want to win a medal? I feel like everyone wants it, “she said.

READ: Table tennis: Yu Mengyu sweeps world No.8 at Olympics, berth in round of 16

“But given the problems I had (with my injuries), it was difficult to get here. So to be able to stay here, my heart is just full of gratitude. “

At the Games’ opening ceremony less than two weeks ago, Yu was one of two standard bearers leading the Singapore squad into the massive Tokyo National Stadium.

Radiant, waving and proud.

And she hasn’t stopped carrying the flag ever since.

Watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games LIVE with 14 dedicated channels on meWATCH. Log on to mewatch.sg/tokyo2020 now and get in on the action with Mediacorp, Singapore’s Olympic network.

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