Table tennis: National women's team head coach Chen Zhibin to leave Singapore set-up

National table tennis women's team head coach Chen Zhibin will be heading back to Germany to be with his family when his contract expires on March 31.
National table tennis women's team head coach Chen Zhibin will be heading back to Germany to be with his family when his contract expires on March 31. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - National table tennis women's team head coach Chen Zhibin will be leaving when his contract expires next month.

The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) announced this on Monday night on its Facebook page, following queries from The Straits Times.

The post read: "The STTA will not be renewing the contract of national women's coach Chen Zhibin which ends on 31 March 2017. Chen will be heading back to be with his family in Germany. We thank Chen Zhibin for his service and we wish him well in all his future endeavours.

"Meanwhile, we will be recruiting for the head coach position."

This will mean a third coaching change for the women's team since November 2015.

Chen, 54, was appointed by the STTA in February last year, shortly after an internal coaching conflict between the women's team and former head coach Jing Junhong. She was subsequently re-deployed as chief coach (youth development) and replaced by Liu Jiayi, who is now head coach of the men's team.

Chen was engaged after a request made by the women's team and was supported by the Singapore Sports Institute. He was previously the head coach of the Netherlands' women's team from 2009 to 2012 and played for the Chinese national team from 1983 to 1990, achieving a career-high ranking of world No. 5.

The women's team did not win any medals at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last August, the first time in three Games that they returned empty-handed. During his tenure, world No. 4 Feng Tianwei won the Slovenian Open, a bronze at the Asian Cup and a bronze at the Women's World Cup.