Grooming local table-tennis talent from a young age

THE Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) is committed to our mission of developing world-class table-tennis players by identifying, nurturing and motivating aspiring table-tennis talents to become the best that they can be ("Groom more local talent in table tennis" by Ms Jessie Tan Sze Nah; Thursday).

The STTA has been featuring our local talents, such as Isabelle Li, Clarence Chew and Pang Xuejie, in the biennial SEA Games since 2007.

Pang was featured in the doubles event at the 2007 SEA Games when he was 14 years old. At the 2011 SEA Games, Pang and Ma Liang created history by scoring the gold medal in the men's doubles event. It was the first time that Singapore scored the gold and silver medals in the men's doubles event at the SEA Games.

Li has done Singapore proud with a silver medal in the singles event at the previous SEA Games in 2011 and 2013, and she recently scored a gold medal in the team event at SEA Games 2015. Li was also featured in the singles event at the recent SEA Games.

Chew, our other promising table-tennis starlet, played in three table-tennis events: men's singles, men's doubles and men's team event at the recent SEA Games. Chew finished the 2015 SEA Games with an impressive medal haul of one gold and two bronzes.

The STTA has invested heavily in our youth development programmes and we have in place elite programmes to develop local youth players for progression into the national team.

The STTA has a comprehensive system in place to nurture local sporting talents, from the grassroots to elite level.

We work with PAP Community Foundation (PCF) kindergartens in 34 constituencies, and each year, a broad base of 1,200 promising local children from these kindergartens are introduced to the game at a very young age, monitored and developed.

During this time, talented players are sent to the STTA's seven zone training centres located islandwide for intensive training.

From these zone training centres, the more promising ones will be directed to the junior development squad.

This cohort will be further shortlisted to join our youth programmes and eventually be part of the national team.

The STTA is fully committed to nurturing and fielding local-born players. And we hope that Singaporeans will continue to give our local players and STTA their full support as we continue to strive to become one of the top table-tennis nations in the world.

Wong Hui Leng (Ms)

Chief Executive Officer

Singapore Table Tennis Association

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2015, with the headline ''. Print Edition | Subscribe