Table tennis: Another blow for men's national team as Rio Olympian Chen Feng quits but Pang will go full time

SINGAPORE - The national men's table tennis team suffered yet another blow, with Olympian Chen Feng the latest to quit the team.

The 23-year-old, who competed in the singles event at the Rio Games last August, cited a desire to spend more time with his mother, who is in poor health. The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) made an announcement on Friday night.

Said Chen, whose last competition was at the Olympics: "It has been many years since I got to spend quality time with my family. During my recent visit to my parents' house (in China), I realised that my parents are no longer young and energetic. They mean a lot to me and I realise that I can no longer take them for granted."

Chen's last world ranking was No. 117 last December, but is now unranked after being missing from the professional circuit for more than four months.

His departure means the strength of the national men's team is even more depleted. Gao Ning, the highest ranked at No. 50, is expected to retire after the Asian Games next year and is gradually moving to a coaching role.

Veteran Yang Zi retired last month, while Li Hu was sacked in October last year for disciplinary reasons.

Local born Clarence Chew, now ranked No. 212, is the next highest ranked.

Pang Xue Jie, another local-born paddler, has committed to going full time.

The 24-year-old is a seasoned member of the national team. At the world championships last year, Pang - then-ranked No. 334 - beat Japan's Koki Niwa, a former world junior champion ranked 320 places above him.