SINGAPORE: Despite the ‘strict’ rules that come with training and living in a bubble imposed by COVID-19, excitement mounts as Singapore’s table tennis team began centralized training in Japan on Tuesday, June 29 with the Olympics in less than a month.
A delegation from Singapore, including Lin Ye as well as training partners and coaches, arrived in Japan on Sunday, before joining Osaka-based Feng Tianwei at the team’s central training camp in Shimada City, in. Shizuoka Prefecture.
Players Yu Mengyu and Clarence Chew will join the others in the coming days.
Lin, Yu and Feng will represent Singapore in the women’s team event, while Feng and Yu will appear in the women’s singles. Chew will be the sole representative in the Men’s Singles event.
Lin and Chew will make their Olympic debuts, as it will be Feng’s fourth Games and the second Yu will participate in.
READ: No specific medal target for Singapore table tennis team at Olympics, but expectations remain ‘high’: STTA
Games newbie Lin said the team and staff are not allowed to venture out on their own outside of training. Instead, they are limited to their hotel rooms and their training location.
In addition, a daily temperature is taken, as well as daily COVID-19 tests.
“The rules here are very strict. We can only travel in a bubble and have limited access to third parties,” she said.
“It’s not easy, but we understand the importance of complying with COVID-19 measures.”
Calling the town of Shimada a “great host,” Lin said she appreciates the hospitality offered by its residents.
“In Japan we have world class training partners with different styles of play and it is also very important to acclimatize to the weather and humidity,” she added.
“We are excited and counting the days until the Tokyo Olympics.”
Eddy Tay, who is the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s (STTA) senior manager for high performance, noted that training in Japan will be important for the team as they ramp up their preparations.
“This level of training is important because in Singapore we don’t have a lot of world-class players. So by coming here, we have access to all that, “he explained.
“We will also have friendly matches with players as training partners before heading to the Tokyo Olympics.”
In the previous edition of the Games, the Singapore paddlers finished without a medal, the first time in three Olympics that they did so.
Feng finished fourth in the women’s singles in Rio, while the women’s team of Feng, Yu and Zhou Yihan narrowly missed a medal after losing in the bronze medal match against Japan.
“The time for training is so precious with less than a month left,” Feng said. “Of course we want to win a medal, but there will be many obstacles, we will do our best.”
The Tokyo Olympics, which were originally scheduled to start in July last year, have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional reports: Michiyo Ichida
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