Table tennis: Shanghai trip incentive for Crocodile Challenge Cup winners

While the big stars are preparing to fight for national glory at the upcoming SEA Games, 232 players from 53 local primary schools will be competing to do their school proud.

But participants of the fifth Crocodile Challenge Cup organised by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) could also win a chance to play for the nation in an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) tournament.

In addition to cash prizes of $18,000, winners of the boys' singles and girls' singles events in the Primary 5 & 6 category will be nominated to represent Singapore at the ITTF Hopes Week and Challenge staged in Shanghai, China, from June 29 to July 5.

The 2015 ITTF World Hopes Week & Challenge is a week-long event featuring an official training camp and an internal tournament. All expenses will be covered by the sponsors of the Crocodile Challenge Cup.

The 2015 Crocodile Challenge Cup began today at the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, where the primary school talents came together to pit their skills. Only the best players from each primary school were selected, as each school is allowed to nominate only two boys and two girls.

But before the tournament began, they were treated to an exhibition match by national paddlers Clarence Chew and Yee Herng Hwee. Some participants even got to spar with the Singapore internationals.

"We hope to inspire these young talents to start with local success, then climb the national and regional steps to end up at the international level or beyond," said the STTA.

The tournament will conclude on Sunday at Velocity@Novena, with the finals held in the shopping mall's atrium.

berelow@sph.com.sg