Table tennis: National player Li Hu sacked by STTA over disciplinary violation

National table tennis player Li Hu has been sacked by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) on Oct 24, 2016.
National table tennis player Li Hu has been sacked by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) on Oct 24, 2016.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - National table tennis player Li Hu has been sacked by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) following a disciplinary committee meeting on Monday evening (Oct 24).

The 28-year-old had been serving a suspension by the STTA for violating house rules earlier this month. Li had let a woman spend the night at the STTA hostel, located at its Toa Payoh headquarters where he had been living.

He was confronted by a senior STTA official on Oct 14 for this misconduct and was subsequently asked to pack his bags.

The association said in a statement: "The STTA does not tolerate indiscipline. Li Hu's repeated breaches of the Code of Conduct is a cause of serious concern to the STTA.

"Despite being verbally warned on several occasions, Li Hu continued to breach the dormitory and house rules. His insubordination is unacceptable and is not tolerated. It was an unanimous decision by the Disciplinary Committee to early terminate Li Hu's contract for his repeated code of conduct breaches."

 

The STTA's disciplinary committee is chaired by its vice-president Lim Soon Hock. Its other members are management committee members Han Ngge Juan and Lee Yan Peng.

According to the STTA, Li had been caught on CCTV bringing a woman back to the dormitory more than once and had been given more than one verbal warning. The association added that Li "also had other disciplinary issues throughout his employment with the STTA".

Li is separately assisting the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) with an investigation.

The Hubei native was the 2003 world junior singles champion and is currently ranked 58th in the world. He is the second-highest ranked Singaporean after veteran paddler Gao Ning, who is the world No. 41.

Li, who has a career-high ranking of No. 26, had been groomed over the years to take over as the country's leading player after a trying few months for the men's national team.

For the first time since the team event was introduced to the Olympic programme in 2008, the Singapore men failed to qualify as a team for August's Rio Games.

Gao is a three-time Olympian but is 34 while team-mate Yang Zi is 32 and ranked 168th. Both are into the twilight of their careers.

Since arriving in Singapore in 2010 and taking up citizenship in 2011, Li has helped break new ground for the men's team.

His top achievements came in the doubles, having partnered Gao to back-to-back titles at the International Table Tennis Federation World Tour Grand Finals in 2014, the sport's prestigious year-ender.

The duo also won a bronze - the Republic's first men's doubles medal at the Asian Games - at the 2014 Incheon edition.

They also claimed the Commonwealth Games men's doubles title in Glasgow that year.