The Professionals: Eking out a career in sports

Table tennis: Feng Tianwei's challenge is to perfect her craft as she targets 2020 Tokyo Olympics

From the highs of Olympic glory to being dropped from the national squad, Feng Tianwei talks about her journey as a table tennis professional.
Feng Tianwei's 4-2 win over Japan's world No. 9 Miu Hirano in July's Seamaster T2 Diamond 2019 Malaysia leg's round of 16 was her first win over a top-10 player since December 2017. PHOTO: T2 DIAMOND Feng jumping into the arms of an emotional head co
Feng Tianwei's 4-2 win over Japan's world No. 9 Miu Hirano in July's Seamaster T2 Diamond 2019 Malaysia leg's round of 16 was her first win over a top-10 player since December 2017. PHOTO: T2 DIAMOND

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Feng Tianwei, usually poker-faced when she plays, breaks into a child-like smile after beating world No. 9 Miu Hirano.

It feels like the 33-year-old has finally unlocked a puzzle she has been struggling with for some time. After all, it is 27 months since she last beat a top-10 player in an ITTF tournament. She was world No. 3 and defeated fourth-ranked Kasumi Ishikawa in the Korea Open final. That title in April 2017 was also Feng's last.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2019, with the headline 'Feng's challenge is to perfect her craft '. Print Edition | Subscribe