SINGAPORE - Injury has ruled Singapore paddler Yu Mengyu out of the singles event at the SEA Games, after it was announced yesterday that she would be replaced by team-mate Zhou Yihan.
But Yu, who turned 28 yesterday, is deemed fit enough to continue in the women's doubles, mixed doubles and team events where Singapore are attempting to retain their titles from the last Games in 2015.
The Rio Olympian and world No. 33, who is partnering Feng Tianwei in the women's doubles, had returned from a long injury lay-off only four months ago after undergoing surgery on her shoulder last November.
Yu, part of the gold-winning team and mixed doubles duo when the Games were held in Singapore, also has a longstanding waist injury.
"I had to make this difficult decision because of my (recurring) injury," the Liaoning native said yesterday.
"It is difficult for me to manage all the four events (singles, team, women's doubles and mixed doubles) at the SEA Games... By playing in the doubles events, it won't strain my injury as much and this will keep me in the game longer and give me more recovery time to prepare for the team event."
The Republic, however, will still field a strong team in the singles, where the paddlers are attempting to reclaim the gold after losing it to Thailand in 2015.
World No. 6 Feng and Zhou, the world No. 50, are the top-ranked South-east Asians in the competition. Defending champion Suthasini Sawettabut is the next highest-ranked player at No. 57.
Zhou, who starred at the Rio Olympics last year, promised to give her best on her debut in the singles event: "This is the first time that I will be playing the singles event and I will do my utmost best for Singapore."