By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond
The 3rd placing for women’s table tennis team event has gone to Japan. Japan has beaten Singapore with a score of 3-1.
In the first game, Singapore’s Yu Mengyu beat Japan’s Fukuhara Ai in 3 sets to 2.
In the second game, Singapore’s Feng Tianwei who ranked higher than Japan’s Ishikawa Kasumi, lost to Kasumi in 3 straight sets (10-12, 6-11, 7-11).
The third game which was a double went to Japan. Singapore’s Zhou Yihan and Yu Mengyu could not beat Ito Mima and Fukuhara Ai. Singapore took the first set but lost the next 3 (11-9, 9-11, 1-11, 12-14).
And in the last game, Singapore’s Feng Tianwei was trashed by Japan’s Ito Mima in 3 straight sets (9-11, 4-11, 6-11). Mima is ranked 9th while Feng ranked 4th. In all, Feng’s performance was quite dismay. She was trashed in 3 consecutive sets twice by Japanese players who were ranked lower than her.
With the end of the women’s semi-final, the Singapore’s women table tennis team did not win any medals at all. Neither did the women players win any medals for their single games. Both Feng and Yu were knocked out in their individual quarterfinal games by Japanese and North Korean players respectively. They didn’t even meet any Chinese players in their single games.
As for the men’s team members, Chen Feng and Gao Ning, they were knocked out even before the round of 16. Chen was beaten by a Finnish player, Olah, in round 1 while Gao was beaten by UK’s Drinkhall in round 2. None met any Chinese players.
Foreign Sports Talent Scheme
All 5 Singapore table tennis players for Rio Olympics were hailed from China: Feng, Yu, Zhou, Chen and Gao. They were recruited from China and given Singapore citizenship under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme (FST). Not a single native Singaporean was in the table tennis Olympic team.
The FST a government scheme used by sports officials and organisations in Singapore to scout and facilitate the migration of foreigners deemed to possess “sports talent” to play in Singapore colours in sporting events. It was first introduced in 1993 by the Singapore Table Tennis Association.
Despite being called “talents” and given money and allowance to play for Singapore, these China-born table tennis players seem to be regressing.
In 2008 Beijing Olympics, the women’s table tennis team could get a silver medal. In 2012 London Olympics, they got bronze. Now in Rio Olympics, they get nothing. It’s not known why they are not performing and are getting worse.
Meanwhile, local-born native Singaporean, Joseph Schooling, has done Singapore proud by winning an Olympic gold and breaking the Olympic record in 100m butterfly swimming event.
Unfortunately, his family has to sacrifice a lot financially to make this happen. It was reported in Chinese media that Joseph’s parents had to sell their private home so that they could finance his swimming trainings in the US for the past 7 years. Joseph’s father noted that nearly US$1 million was spent on Joseph’s training in the US. Today, the family lives in a modest HDB flat in Marine Parade.