The Singapore women's team failed to retain their team bronze at the Asian Table Tennis Championships in Pattaya, as they fell 1-3 in the quarter-finals to world No. 3 South Korea yesterday.
The result means they have to play for fifth to eighth positions at the biennial meet.
It is the first time since the 2007 edition that the team had failed to win a medal. Singapore clinched a silver in 2007, 2009 and 2012 before bagging a bronze in 2013.
National women's team head coach Jing Junhong said: "It's a pity because a few games were very close. We knew it was going to be difficult to retain our bronze when we came here.
"I'm still pleased that the players gave their all."
It was important for the younger ones to see and experience what it's like to compete against the top players.
JING JUNHONG National women's team head coach
While Singapore, ranked sixth in the world, fielded world No. 7 Feng Tianwei and No. 29 Yu Mengyu, the team also included untested youngsters like 18-year-old Yee Herng Hwee (No. 447), 14-year-old Goi Rui Xuan (No. 624) and 15-year-old Eunice Lim (No. 652).
Isabelle Li, the world No. 146, is out with an injury.
China-born Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan, the next two highest-ranked players after Feng and Yu at world No. 51 and No. 73 respectively, are unable to compete.
Regulations bar foreign-born paddlers from competing for their adoptive countries in events like these without first sitting out a stipulated number of years.
The Republic's only point came from Feng's win over Yang Ha Eun (11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6).
Said Jing: "It was important for the younger ones to see and experience what it's like to compete against the top players.
"There are definitely areas to improve and we will assess our performance when we get back."
Chua Siang Yee