Table tennis: Former national paddler Wang Yuegu, 35, finally finds time to start a family

Two-time Olympic medallist Wang Yuegu is expecting her first child at the end of July with her husband Gabriel Lee. She has been coaching young paddlers at her table tennis academy since her retirement from playing.
Two-time Olympic medallist Wang Yuegu is expecting her first child at the end of July with her husband Gabriel Lee. She has been coaching young paddlers at her table tennis academy since her retirement from playing.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Almost four years after hanging up her bat and with her coaching career going smoothly, Wang Yuegu now feels ready to take on the next big "project" of her life - becoming a mother.

The 35-year-old former national paddler is expecting her first child with husband Gabriel Lee and is due to give birth at the end of July.

The couple, who have been married since June 2011, had delayed having children because of their busy schedules. They set up the Champion Table Tennis Club in 2013 to begin coaching young paddlers and have also been partnering ActiveSG to head its Yio Chu Kang table tennis academy.

Wang told The Straits Times yesterday: "We were too busy and never thought about having kids until last year, when things at the club began to stabilise. We now have several assistant coaches to help with the coaching load at the club, so things are more manageable."

The pregnancy has been smooth so far for the two-time Olympic medallist. She was also part of the team that sensationally toppled China to become world champions in 2010.

Still, for someone who feels a need to be active every day, taking it easy for the last few months has required some getting used to.

"I feel uncomfortable if I'm not able to play. Gabriel is already joking that I've gone half-crazy from being cooped up at home," said the Liaoning native, who became a Singapore citizen in 2007.

The couple will find out on Friday if their first child is a boy or a girl.

Wang, who also holds four singles titles from the International Table Tennis Federation professional circuit, joked: "I wanted a girl initially but then I realised girls tend to be close to their fathers, and there's no way I'm going through all this trouble to give my husband another 'lover'."

But what the couple can agree on is the nationality of their baby. Lee, 34, is a Taiwanese who has lived in Germany for the bulk of his life.

Staying true to her promise when she retired after the 2012 London Olympics that her roots - and her future child's - will be in Singapore, Wang said her firstborn would also be Singaporean.

Her mother, who has been living with her in Singapore, will help to look after the baby.

Said Wang: "I want to return to coaching once the confinement period is over. Surely between three adults, we can take care of a little baby?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2016, with the headline 'Wang, 35, finally finds time to start family'. Print Edition | Subscribe