Olympics: Rousing reception for table tennis team at Changi despite no medals in Rio

National paddlers Zhou Yihan (second from left), Feng Tianwei (centre) and Yu Mengyu (second from right) greeting cheering fans at Changi Airport on Aug 19, 2016.
National paddlers Zhou Yihan (second from left), Feng Tianwei (centre) and Yu Mengyu (second from right) greeting cheering fans at Changi Airport on Aug 19, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
(From right) Singapore paddlers Zhou Yihan, Yu Mengyu and Feng Tianwei posing for a picture with a fan after they returned to Singapore, at Changi Airport on Aug 19, 2016.
(From right) Singapore paddlers Zhou Yihan, Yu Mengyu and Feng Tianwei posing for a picture with a fan after they returned to Singapore, at Changi Airport on Aug 19, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Feng Tianwei signing autographs at Changi Airport after returning from the Rio Olympics, on Aug 19, 2016.
Feng Tianwei signing autographs at Changi Airport after returning from the Rio Olympics, on Aug 19, 2016.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK/TEAMSG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore table tennis team might not have won a medal for Singapore at the Olympics this year, but that did not stop 200 fans from turning up at Changi Airport to welcome them home from Brazil anyway.

Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Zhou Yihan walked out into the arrival hall to a rousing reception, as fans pushed and squeezed to get their autographs and take photos with the trio.

Feng said that the turnout lifted her spirits. Singapore's top paddler is still reeling from their painful loss to Japan in the bronze-medal match earlier this week, which resulted in the team returning empty-handed from an Olympic Games for the first time since 2004.

Feng, who is Singapore's most bemedalled athlete at the Olympics with two bronze and one silver medal, said: "I didn't immediately recover from that (loss). But when I arrived and saw so many people who came to support us, who didn't stop supporting us just because we did not win a medal, I feel encouraged."

She also blamed herself for the failure in Rio, saying: "I regret that we didn't get a medal. Personally, in the bronze-medal match against Japan, I felt I was too eager to win a medal for Singapore.

"At the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, I won medals so this time, I felt that I needed to win too. So maybe the pressure that I felt was greater. So I couldn't manage to play well and I felt sad that I lost two of the matches."