Table tennis: Paddlers face uphill task to win medals at World Championships

Facing powerhouses China in a table tennis tournament is already a daunting task, let alone taking on them in their own backyard in one of the most prestigious events of the year.

Which is why Singapore women's coach Jing Junhong was coy when asked about her charges' chances of winning medals at the Apr 24-May 3 World Table Tennis Championships in Suzhou. The competition was last held in China in 2008.

Said Jing: "Unlike the Olympics, China can send as many representatives as they wish per event, and they have a good crop of five to six world-class players in each category. It'll be very difficult to win a medal, but we'll try our best."

Singapore's best hope of finishing on the podium lies in the hands of world No. 4 Feng Tianwei, but Jing said the Chinese players will be on their guard against Feng, especially after her maiden Asian Cup singles win in March.

Said Jing: "Tianwei is already one of China's toughest opponents, so the Chinese players will look out for her even more now. But the Asian Cup win is a breakthrough for her, and it will boost her confidence."

The paddlers leave for Suzhou on Thursday.