Table tennis chief Lee wants team to sweep all seven events at Commonwealth Games

Members of the men's and women's national table tennis team pose for a photo with their coaches and STTA President Ellen Lee (front row, second from left) and Senior High Performance Manager Eddy Tay (centre).
Members of the men's and women's national table tennis team pose for a photo with their coaches and STTA President Ellen Lee (front row, second from left) and Senior High Performance Manager Eddy Tay (centre).ST PHOTO: ALVIN HO

SINGAPORE - Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Ellen Lee said on Wednesday (March 14) that she wants her paddlers to aim for an unprecedented clean sweep of seven gold medals at the upcoming Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

The former MP made the remark at the unveiling of the 10-strong team, that will compete at the April 4-15 Games, at the STTA's Toa Payoh headquarters.

The women's team will feature Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu, Zhou Yihan, Lin Ye and Zhang Wan Ling; Feng, Yu, Zhou and Lin featured at the 2014 Games in Glasgow with Isabelle Li, who has since retired.

The men's team will feature Gao Ning, Pang Xue Jie, Ethan Poh, Koen Pang and Beh Kun Ting. Clarence Chew, who clinched the men's singles silver medal at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, did not make the squad because of his national service commitments.

Koen, 15, Kun Ting, 16, and Wan Ling, 18, will make their major Games debuts on the Gold Coast, while Poh featured in the SEA Games in 2017.

Lee said: "We told them we want them to win every gold out there that is for the taking and we hope that they will be able to do their best, knowing that they have a lot more to lose if they don't do well."

Asked to elaborate on the latter part of her statement, she explained: "Commonwealth Games comes around once every four years; to compete with players from the Commonwealth countries are rare opportunities for them (Singapore paddlers) and they will have to make it or break it.

"They know what they are up against, and they are all eager to do their best."

The paddlers won six of seven medals in Glasgow in 2014 - English duo Paul and Joanna Drinkhall's victory in the mixed doubles prevented a clean sweep for Singapore.

It was a similar situation in the 2010 edition in New Delhi, India - the home pair of Sharath Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha won the men's doubles, while the Republic won the rest of the medals.

Singapore won four golds and three titles in seven events respectively at the 2006 and 2002 Games. Table tennis was introduced at the 2002 Manchester Games.

The team will leave for Australia on March 19 for training ahead of the Games.