Table tennis: Jing Junhong to helm Singapore women's team again

Jing Junhong will have her hands full immediately with the upcoming May 12-23 SEA Games. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Three-time Olympian Jing Junhong was re-appointed head coach of the national women's table tennis team on Monday (April 4). She takes over from Hao Anlin, who has been re-designated as her deputy after leading the team since 2017.

Jing had been the deputy head coach from 2009 and head coach from 2013, before being replaced in a coaching shake-up in 2015, months ahead of the Rio Olympics. Then, the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) had revealed that a week before an International Table Tennis Federation tournament, paddlers Feng Tianwei and the recently retired Yu Mengyu, who has since joined the STTA's coaching panel, had requested for a change in the women's team coach to help them improve their games.

After that, Jing was made the STTA's chief coach of youth development, a role which will now be taken over by her husband, technical director Loy Soo Han, himself a former national player.

In a statement, Jing, 53, said: "I am thankful for this opportunity and the management's trust and confidence in my abilities. The task is not easy as we are a team made up of young players but I am ready to face the challenges ahead and do my best for Singapore. I hope to continue Singapore's table tennis success in major competitions."

Hao, 35, added: "Coach Jing was my mentor when I started coaching and it was a successful working relationship. I look forward to working with her again."

Jing will have her hands full immediately with the upcoming May 12-23 SEA Games, July 28-Aug 8 Commonwealth Games and Sept 10-25 Asian Games, but her familiarity with the players will help. Under her previous portfolio, she had worked closely with the young paddlers to develop their styles and techniques.

The STTA noted her work with Izaac Quek, who became the Under-15 boys' world No. 1 in 2021, Zhou Jingyi and Ser Lin Qian, who recorded several wins on the International Table Tennis Federation Junior Circuits and World Table Tennis Youth Contender events in recent years.

Izaac and Ser also claimed Singapore's first bronze medals at the 2021 World Youth Table Tennis Championships.

Jingyi, 16, said: "Coach Jing is a good coach who can communicate effectively, has a good understanding of the sport and is able to motivate the younger athletes. I am thrilled that Coach Jing will take over as head coach as I have grown so much as a player under her charge since I was 13. I look forward to learning more from her."

As these young players rose to the national team, the STTA felt it would be a good move for Jing to continue working with the female players.

STTA president Ellen Lee said: "I have known Coach Jing since 2014 and her track record speaks for itself, with many of our youths winning on the international circuit. Coach Jing has this ability to work with the younger generation of players and I look forward to seeing her continuous work with them."

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