It may have been four years since former national table tennis player Wang Yuegu retired, but the two-time Olympic medallist's name still carries pulling power among young paddlers and their parents here.
Approximately more than 50 children, accompanied by their parents, attended the official launch and open house of the Wang Yuegu Table Tennis Academy at the Temasek Club yesterday.
For nine-year-old Josh Ng, there were two highlights of his experience - sparring with Wang and getting sweets. He added: "Wang Yuegu is very good."
His father Alan, who enrolled Josh at the academy after the open house, said: "Wang Yuegu is quite a renowned name in the Singapore national scene, so we decided to come to the open house to see if Josh has the potential, and sign him up if he is really interested."
WANG YUEGU TABLE TENNIS ACADEMY
WHERE: Temasek Club at Rifle Range Road
WHEN: 6pm-9pm (Mon-Fri); 1.30pm-9pm (Sat); 5pm-9pm (Sun)
WHO: Classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced players are available
COST: From $95 for beginners to $125 for advanced players (four one-hour sessions a month), not inclusive of a one-time $55 registration fee.
For more information, call the Temasek Club gym counter on 6801-4278.
Another young paddler who signed up for Wang's table tennis academy yesterday was eight-year-old Macy Ng.
The Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School pupil had been coached by Wang for a month at ActiveSG's Yio Chu Kang Table Tennis Academy.
She said: "(Wang) taught me how I should smack the ball when I play.
"Previously, I used only the power from my hand but now, I use the power from my waist too."
Other parents, such as Nongluck Yap, enrolled her eight-year-old son Pakin because of Wang's experience at the highest level .
The 47-year-old housewife said: "Pakin is the first one in the family to play table tennis and joining the academy will be a good opportunity if someone sees his potential.
"Our family has no background in this sport, so we need those who are more experienced to advise on how far he can go and how we can support him."
Wang, who was part of the Singapore side who beat China for the world team title in 2010, said she was heartened by yesterday's turnout, which saw more than 50 children sign up for training.
The 36-year-old added that she would award $5,000 each to the best boy and girl paddler. This would be determined by their progress at local and overseas competitions over a one-year period.
She said: "I want to contribute this amount as a form of support and encouragement.
"Hopefully if there are more contributions, we can offer more support to those who are less well-off so that they can afford table tennis lessons and equipment."