SEA Games: 5 things to know about Koen Pang, first Singapore-born men's singles table tennis champ

Koen Pang became the first Singapore man to pick up the table tennis men's singles gold medal on Dec 10, 2019. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Koen Pang made history at the SEA Games on Tuesday (Dec 10) by becoming the first Singapore-born table tennis player to pick up the men's singles gold medal.

Here's what you need to know about the 17-year-old, who is currently awaiting enlistment into national service:

1. While Koen first picked up a bat at the age of five, he also dabbled in gymnastics before giving it up to focus on table tennis when he was 10.

2. He became the first paddler from Singapore to become the Under-18 world No. 1, after displacing Russia's Lev Katsman in August. He is now 11th in the U-18 chart, 29th in the U-21 list, and 203rd in the men's open ranking.

3. Earlier this month, he teamed up with Josh Chua to clinch a junior boys' doubles bronze at the World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Korat, Thailand. This was Singapore's first medal in this competition.

4. When he returns to Singapore, he is looking forward to having his favourite char siew rice because he enjoys the sauce and there are no bones to remove.

5. Koen's favourite player is a fellow southpaw, Germany's former world No. 1 Timo Boll.

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