Feng Tianwei needs support, not the axe

Feng Tianwei of Singapore celebrates after winning her match against Xialian Ni of Luxembourg.
Feng Tianwei of Singapore celebrates after winning her match against Xialian Ni of Luxembourg.PHOTO: REUTERS

I read with much indignation that the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) has dropped Feng Tianwei from the national table tennis team ("Feng Tianwei axed from national squad"; Oct 26).

Despite her age, Feng, 30, remains the top-ranked female table tennis player in Singapore and is currently ranked No. 6 in the world.

With her dedication and if properly supported by coaches and trainers, I am sure she has more to give to the sport and can be part of our team in the next Olympic Games.

What struck me while watching our players perform during the recent Rio Olympics was the need for more strategy and support from the coaching team. Feng and the other players need more support to do well, which is something the STTA needs to look into as well.


It is good to hear that the STTA leadership is embarking on a new "high performance strategic plan" for the 2020 Games and is making some bold moves, such as dropping Feng. But the manner in which this was done gives the impression that sports associations are only interested in winning medals and once the athlete cannot do so, he will be axed unceremoniously.

Glory, attention and money come when you produce the results, but winning medals should not be the only reason for promoting sports.

There has been an ongoing discussion about what is in store for sportsmen once their playing days are over. And how Feng is being treated is likely to show once again that they need to plan for their own future beyond sports.

It would have been good if the STTA had led the way by leveraging her experience in some coaching or mentoring role.

Many have made negative comments about Feng on social media. We should thank her instead for her sacrifice and contributions to sports and table tennis in Singapore.

Tan Chor Yong