S’pore paddlers clinch both team events to make it six golds out of seven

SINGAPORE - There may be no clean sweep of all seven titles, but Singapore’s paddlers fought on to win the men’s and women’s team events, earning the table tennis team’s fifth and sixth golds of the SEA Games on Monday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

It did not come as easy as had been expected of the team, but the women’s team, led by world No. 4 Feng Tianwei, beat the Thais 3-2 in the best-of-five match up.

World No. 13 Yu Mengyu, playing in first singles, had a rough start as she lost 7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11 to Thai veteran Nanthana Komwong.

Feng then leveled the tie, beating Tamolwan Khetkhuan 13-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6. However, Isabelle Li, could not post a point for the team despite putting up a good fight, losing 11-7, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8, 7-11 to Orawan Paranang.

Team captain Feng, shouldering the pressure of avoiding a major upset, then beat Komwong 12-10, 11-8, 11-1. Yu then took the Singapore team to victory with a 10-12, 11-2, 15-13, 11-5 over Tamolwan.

Buoyed by a boisterous crowd of over 4,000, Yu said this was the first time she had played to such a home crowd.

“I was very nervous after losing the first tie, and the crowd was all the way behind us in the fifth tie so there was definitely some pressure. But I was very moved by the crowd and left everything I had out there on the court.”

The men's team, led by world No. 15 Gao Ning, also won their tie against Vietnam 3-1 in a final that ended close to midnight.

Li Hu lost 1-3 in his tie against Tran Tuan Quynh, before Gao Ning leveled the score by beating Nguyen Anh Tu 3-0. Clarence Chew then posted a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Dinh Quang Linh, before Gao anchored the team to the gold with a 3-0 victory over Tran.

maychen@sph.com.sg

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