Follow Yu Mengyu's table tennis semis, Joseph Schooling's 100m fly heats on ST's Tokyo Olympics live blog

Paddler Yu Mengyu and swimmer Joseph Schooling. PHOTOS: REUTERS, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Thursday (July 29) at the Tokyo Olympics promises to be a pivotal day for Singapore sports as Joseph Schooling begins the defence of his 100m butterfly title while paddler Yu Mengyu is within touching distance of silverware herself.

The Straits Times will be live blogging both Yu's matches in the table tennis women's singles competition as well as Schooling's 100m fly heats at

First up in the morning at 10am is world No. 47 Yu, whose fairy tale run in Japan meets its toughest obstacles. She faces China's top-ranked Chen Meng in the semi-finals.

Victory will mean Yu, 31, advances to the gold medal match at 8pm on Thursday and guarantees her a podium finish. Lose however, and she heads into the bronze medal playoff on the same day.

Singapore has captured three Olympic medals in the sport. The first was a women's team silver at Beijing 2008. Four years later in London, they claimed a team bronze while Feng Tianwei bagged a bronze in the women's singles.

Schooling, 26, then takes the stage in the evening at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

He will be in lane eight of heat 5 (starts 6.54pm in Singapore) and will need to clock a time that is within the top-16 among all entrants to advance to the semi-finals on Friday morning. There are 59 competitors across eight heats for this event.

While he holds the Olympic record of 50.39 seconds, set at the 2016 Rio Games, his recent form has been indifferent - his best effort this year is a humble 52.93sec, clocked twice in March and May, while his biggest rivals American Caeleb Dressel and Hungarian Kristof Milak have been much quicker.

Dressel's best time this year is 49.76 while Milak's is 50.18.

According to the Tokyo 2020 official 100m fly entry list, Schooling's qualification time of 51.84 - set at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines - places him 32nd. His teammate Quah Zheng Wen, at 51.87, is one spot behind. Quah will be in heat 4.

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