SINGAPORE – With a new team flying the flag at the Asian Table Tennis Championships in Doha, Qatar, the Singapore women had a decent fight against a higher-ranked South Korea in the semi-finals on Thursday (September 30) ahead to bow to 3-0.
The result saw the National Women’s Team retain their bronze medal from the previous edition in 2019.
National women’s coach Hao Anlin has chosen to focus on the positives as the squad, led by world number 61 Lin Ye, consists mostly of less experienced and younger players aged 25 and under. Veteran players Feng Tianwei, ranked 10th in the world, and Yu Mengyu, 34th, did not participate.
Instead, it was Wong Xin Ru, Zhou Jingyi and Goi Ruixuan who played for Singapore in the 3-0 loss to South Korea on Thursday.
Hao said, “I think we have fulfilled the team’s mission. Especially since Lin Ye did a good job leading a young team of local players, unity and morale were there. .
“In these two women’s team matches, each young player saw many areas of improvement and weakness. It was a good opportunity for them to learn and show their abilities.”
World number 193 Wong lost 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 to Shin Yu-bin (80th) before Zhou fell 11-5, 11-3, 12-10 to the seed in simple Jeon Ji-hee.
World No.22 Suh Hyo-won then sealed South Korea’s victory with an 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 victory over Goi.
Nonetheless, Wong is pleased with the team’s performance and is already considering the women’s singles and doubles events.
Wong, 19, said: “Since we are a young and inexperienced team, Lin Ye and our coaches have been a great pillar of technical and mental support.
“From the game played today, I learned that it is important to start the game well and not to be afraid of stronger opponents. I also hope that I can find more momentum in my game and focus on playing each ball to the best of my ability.
Hao added, “Besides cherishing every opportunity to play, we hope they can play to their potential. We haven’t set too many goals for them, we just want them to show what they can do. We hope they can improve faster and get more glory for the country.
“I am full of expectations for this group and I hope they will have more confidence and aspirations from this outing.”
Meanwhile, the men’s team of Koen Pang, Clarence Chew and Beh Kun Ting were beaten 3-0 by Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals.
Over the past few days, the Singaporeans had struggled to move up from tier two to the Championship division to place in the top eight, but couldn’t beat their more experienced opponents.
SEA Games singles champion Pang was beaten 13-11, 11-6, 11-7 by world No.27 Chuang Chih-Yuan 13 in the first single. As world No.180 Chew looked set to upset 73rd Chen Chien-An after bouncing from 2-0 to force a decider, he faltered at the final hurdle, narrowly losing 11-7, 11-8 , 9-11, 9-11, 13-11.
World number 416 Beh got off to a good start but was eventually beaten 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8 by Feng Yi-Hsin (177th).
The Singaporeans are still in action in Doha in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at the Asian Championships, which end on October 5.