They had targeted medals, but Singapore's national teams came up short at the South-east Asian Beach Volleyball Championships on Sentosa's Palawan Beach yesterday.
Three teams - two women's and one men's - had qualified for the elimination stages, but all of them lost in the quarter-finals of the tournament, which was hosted by Singapore for the first time.
"It's honestly quite disappointing," said men's national player Mark Shen. He and his partner Poon Pei Jie lost 10-21, 16-21 to Thailand's Adisorn Khaolumtarn and Surin Jongklang.
"We played our best and gave Thailand a good fight... Thailand were a lot more experienced and their reach was higher."
In the women's quarter-finals, Ong Wei Yu/Serene Ng lost 16-21, 14-21 to Indonesia's Desi Ratnasari/ Yokebed Eka, while Kelly Sim/ Huang Zihui succumbed 11-21, 19-21 against Mai Thi Hoa/Tran Thi Cam Thi from Vietnam.
For part-time players Sim and Huang, who entered these championships by winning the open qualifiers in July, the skill gap ultimately proved too much to handle.
Sim said: "First set, we couldn't get used to playing with them because they're much stronger than us. In the second, we tried to close the gap and in the end, we couldn't clinch the few crucial points.
"We managed to get a few points not because of their errors but because of our skills, which is a big achievement playing against a full-time team."
Despite their disappointment, Shen is looking forward to his next challenge with team-mate Poon.
He said: "We're still young and will have the opportunity to win more medals.
"Next week we'll go to Japan to play in the AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) Asia Tour, which is a level higher than this. So this experience will prepare us better for that."
The semi-finals and finals will be played today.