Singapore’s women paddlers clinch bronze at Asian Championships
The Singapore women's table tennis team ended a six-year medal drought in the team event of the Asian Table Tennis Championships yesterday by clinching a bronze at the competition in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
The team of Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu, Lin Ye and Goi Rui Xuan, who are seeded seventh, had reached the semi-finals, where they lost 3-0 to China.
They had earlier topped their group comprising Sri Lanka and Maldives to set up a quarter-final clash against fourth seeds South Korea.
Against the trio of Jeon Jihee, Suh Hyowon and Yang Haeun in the quarter-final, the Singaporeans fought valiantly to score a 3-1 upset victory.
Singapore women's coach Hao Anlin praised his players for their surprise win in the last eight, as the paddlers also exacted revenge for their quarter-final loss to the South Koreans at last year's Asian Games in Indonesia.
Hao singled out world No. 63 Lin, who upset the 20th-ranked Jeon, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6.
Lin carried this confidence into the semi-finals, where she took the first game 11-9 against China's world No. 1 Chen Meng.
But Chen, a three-gold Asian champion, rallied to win the next three sets 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 to seal victory.
World No. 2 Ding Ning then defeated 12th-ranked Feng 13-11, 11-6, 11-0, before Wang Manyu wrapped up victory for the Chinese by beating 18-year-old Goi 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 to book their berth in the final.
China went on to clinch the gold by defeating Japan 3-0.
As for Singapore, the focus will be on qualification for next year's Tokyo Olympics.
Only the winners of the team event at the Asian Championships earn a spot in next year's Olympics, so Singapore are aiming to qualify at the World Team Qualification event in Gondomar, Portugal, in January next year, when nine spots are up for grabs. - SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ
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