Chance for Singapore to avenge in rematch with Thailand at World C'ships
The Singapore women's table tennis team will get a chance to avenge their SEA Games final loss to Thailand after they were drawn alongside their Asean rivals in Group 4 for the World Team Table Tennis Championships.
At Wednesday's draw in Chengdu, China, where the Sept 30-Oct 9 tournament will be held, Singapore were placed into Group 4 along with South Korea, Thailand, Luxembourg and Iran.
The top two and four best third-placed teams from each of the six groups will advance to knockout rounds.
During their 3-0 defeat by the Thais in May, Singapore were without top player Feng Tianwei. Their talisman, who delivered three gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in August, will also be skipping the world championships.
On Wednesday, the 36-year-old flew to Beijing to pursue a master's degree in sports industry management at the Peking University. At the same time, she will also work part-time with Sport Singapore, helping the national sports agency to develop sport pathways for children and youths.
The Straits Times had reported after the Birmingham Games that the veteran was mulling retirement.
In her absence, the team will comprise Commonwealth Games double gold medallist Zeng Jian and Zhou Jingyi, as well as local-born players Wong Xin Ru, Goi Rui Xuan and Zhang Wanling.
Hot favourites China are in Group 1, where they will face the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Malaysia. The hosts have dominated the women's team event this millennium, with their only blip coming in the 2010 tournament when they were stunned 3-1 by Singapore in the final.
The Republic were also finalists in 2008 and 2012, and joint-third in 2014.
The 2020 edition was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and at the previous edition held in Sweden in 2018, Singapore were stunned 3-2 by Ukraine in the round of 16.
In the men's draw, Singapore will hope to improve on their 2018 showing after they were drawn into Group 7 with Chinese Taipei, Croatia and Belgium.
Four years ago, they lost all five matches, including defeats by the Taiwanese and Belgians.
Elsewhere in Group 1, 21-time champions China will also face the US and Puerto Rico, as well as Slovenia and Thailand. The top two and two best third-placed men's teams go through to last 16.
China, USA, Puerto Rico, Canada, Malaysia
Japan, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Uzbekistan
Hong Kong, Brazil, France, Italy, South Africa
South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Luxembourg, Iran
Germany, Egypt, India, Czech Republic
Romania, Chinese Taipei, Sweden, Portugal
China, Slovenia, United States, Puerto Rico, Thailand
Germany, France, India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan
Japan, Hong Kong, Romania, Iran, Hungary
South Korea, Egypt, Czech Republic, Canada, Saudi Arabia
Sweden, England, Australia, Poland
Brazil, Portugal, Denmark, Slovakia
Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Belgium, Singapore
Women's team: Zeng Jian, Zhou Jingyi, Wong Xin Ru, Goi Rui Xuan, Zhang Wanling
Men's team: Clarence Chew, Koen Pang, Izaac Quek, Beh Kun Ting, Andy Wong