Olympics: Injured Yu Mengyu vows to battle on in table tennis bronze medal match

Yu Mengyu next faces either Japan's world No. 2 Mima Ito or China's world No. 3 Sun Yingsha in the bronze medal play-off.
Yu Mengyu next faces either Japan's world No. 2 Mima Ito or China's world No. 3 Sun Yingsha in the bronze medal play-off.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO - Singapore table tennis player Yu Mengyu vowed to push through a left thigh injury in her bid to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, as she faces  Japan's world No. 2 Mima Ito in the third-place play-off on Thursday (July 29) night.

Yu,31, had required medical attention for a few minutes at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium during her women's singles semi-final loss to China's world No. 1 Chen Meng earlier on Thursday morning.

The world No. 47 Yu lost 4-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6).

“No matter who I face, I will try my best to keep fighting and have no regrets,” Yu said after the defeat.

“I can't really move much but I'm not giving up just because of my injury.

“The fact that I can compete in this arena means something. Regardless of the result, I hope I will finish the whole competition.”

Chen will face compatriot and world No. 3 Sun Yingsha in the gold medal match. Sun had overwhelmed Ito 4-0 (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4) to book her spot in the final.

Ito leads Yu 7-1 in their head-to-head record. That match starts at 7pm (Singapore time).

Of her match against Chen, Yu said: "I couldn't really move but I did not want to abandon the match. It is not easy to get here so regardless of the result, I just want to complete the match."

Chen was too quick and decisive in her first three strokes against Yu. While Chen was concerned enough to call for a time-out when Yu save a couple of game points in the second game, the Singaporean did not really threaten the Olympic debutant.

"It is a fact she is the better player. The quality of her shots is on a much higher level and not something I face in regular training," said Yu.

"All I could do was just to hang around but there was no real way for me to get the upper hand. I have done what I can, but I just couldn't keep up. I have no regrets."


Yu Mengyu required medical attention during the fourth game. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


Yu Mengyu will meet Mima Ito in the bronze play-off and will again be a heavy underdog when the injury is added to the gulf in rankings. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

She has exceeded expectations at Tokyo 2020 by overcoming Portugal's Shao Jieni, Taiwanese Cheng I-ching, American Liu Juan and Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa to reach the last four.

She also surpassed her achievement of making it to the last eight at Rio 2016.

Yu has had to contend with numerous injuries, with a chronic back injury leading to her being escorted on a wheelchair at the Doha airport after the WTT Star Contender event in Qatar as recently as March.

Chen Meng, 27, said: "She put up a good fight. One must have considerable qualities to be able to reach this stage, but I was focused on winning, and I'll do my best to win the gold medal."