Feng earns almost $3M but complains about prize money too little

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By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond

It was earlier reported that PRC-born Feng Tianwei has earned almost $3 millon in prize money, salary and other sponsorship by playing ping pong for Singapore (http://theindependent.sg/feng-tianwei-has-earned-almost-threemillion-since-becoming-a-citizen).

But according to a report from TODAYOnline yesterday, Feng had “complained about the prize money being too little” (‘Feng Tianwei axed for ill-discipline, disrespect and misconduct‘).

Feng was given immediate citizenship in 2007 to play for Singapore. She and her compatriots won silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but as the years progress, their performance went down. They won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics but came back empty handed this year at the Rio Olympics.

This week (25 Oct), STTA decided to drop Feng from the national team as part of a “rejuvenation process”.

Said STTA President and former PAP MP Ellen Lee: “After the Rio Olympics, it is indeed timely for STTA to develop, rejuvenate and refresh our teams to be future ready. Bold moves are needed if we are interested in challenging the top table tennis nations for honours. With competition becoming a lot keener, and with rivals like Japan catching up with Singapore, winning at the world stage has become a lot harder. We need to develop and rejuvenate our national teams to be future ready, and we need to place greater emphasis on the development of our youth players.”

“Feng Tianwei has been a cornerstone of the national team since 2007. She has brought many golden moments to the sport. We would like to thank her for all that she has done for Singapore table tennis, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish Tianwei all the best in her future endeavours”

Feng axed for ill-discipline, misconduct and making false claims

In the TODAYOnline report, however, it revealed that Feng appears to have been dropped for other reasons.

“Disputes over prize money, false claims, and disrespect of authority were some of the issues that led to three-time Olympic medallist Feng Tianwei being axed from the national table tennis team,” TODAYOnline reported.

It reported that STTA decided to sever ties with Feng after a series of incidents over the years.

In addition to complaining that the prize money she was given, was too little, Feng also did not want to pay her share of the winnings to the coaches, as part of STTA’s policy. Last year, she even instigated her compatriots not to pay any of the winnings from SEA Games to the coaches. In her case, it amounted to only $400. Even till today, the players have yet to pay up.

Then there were also frequent clashes between her and the STTA coaches.

Most damning was an issue involving false claims she submitted for the reimbursement of food purchases. These included the purchase of 200 eggs for breakfast over nine days, and 10 tins of milk over three days. Instead of submitting actual receipts for her claims, she submitted her own handwritten receipts. She was eventually issued a warning and the cash was returned to STTA.

Other Singaporeans jailed for false claims

Feng is lucky that STTA, for whatever reasons, did not make any police reports with regard to the false reimbursement claims. Other Singaporeans were not so lucky.

In Jan this year, 3 former senior executives of ST Marine were charged in court for conspiring to make false claims for entertainment expenses that were never incurred.

In May, another Singaporean was jailed formaking illegitimate reimbursement claims from her employer. She had misled her employer, Nike, into paying out false invoices. She used receipts of a firm which provided design and installation services for Nike’s stores, to deceive Nike that the sums in the invoices were incurred only by the firm and its employees which she knew to be false.

When TODAYOnline asked for comments over Feng’s misconduct and false claims, STTA declined except to say that it believes “very strongly in values like discipline, respect and the importance of teamwork and working together towards our common objective of bringing glory to Singapore”.