TOKYO - Singapore table tennis player Yu Mengyu is on the brink of securing an Olympic medal in the women's singles competition at Tokyo 2020 after her stunning victory on Wednesday (July 28) in the quarter-finals over world No. 10 Kasumi Ishikawa.
Yu, ranked 47th, faces China's top-ranked paddler Chen Meng in the semi-finals on Thursday.
Yu reached the last eight of this event at the 2016 Rio Games, where she made her Olympic debut. The only Singaporean to clinch an individual table tennis medal is her teammate Feng Tianwei, who took home a bronze from the 2012 London edition.
Here are some facts about Yu.
1. She was born in Liaoning, China, on Aug 18, 1989. In 2006, at 17 years old, she left China to join the Singapore Table Tennis Association.
2. She once reached a career-high world No. 9 in March 2010.
3. This is her second Olympics. Yu was behind Feng, Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu in the pecking order for Beijing 2008 and London 2012, where they won the women's team silver and bronze, respectively.
4. She was part of the Singapore team which upset China 3-1 in the 2010 World Team Table Tennis Championships final in Moscow.
5. Her singles medal haul includes bronzes at the 2014 Asian Cup and 2018 Asian Games, and a 2013 SEA Games gold.
6. She was nominated for ST Athlete of the Year 2018, which bowler Muhammad Jaris Goh eventually won.
7. Yu has had to cope with debilitating spinal and shoulder injuries. In 2014, she could not get out of bed for a month, and pulled through Rio 2016 with injections and platelet-rich plasma treatment, before undergoing surgery to fix a torn labrum.
In March this year, she had to be escorted on a wheelchair to board her flight home after her back injury flared up during the WTT Star Contender in Doha, Qatar.
8. She is known among her teammates for being the most savvy when it comes to beauty and self-care. In her spare time, she reads up on related products online.
9. She likes to wear different accessories during her matches and has said they help her stand out and give her a psychological boost. At Tokyo 2020, she has items like a gold necklace, earrings, a bracelet, and three rings on her fingers.