Table tennis: Koen Pang moves to No. 1 in the Under-18 boys' world ranking

Paddler Koen Pang had a previous best ranking of second in June and July, and was most recently fourth in the world in his age group.
Paddler Koen Pang had a previous best ranking of second in June and July, and was most recently fourth in the world in his age group.PHOTO: SINGAPORE TABLE TENNIS ASSOCIATION

SINGAPORE - Paddler Koen Pang has become the first Singaporean to top a table tennis world ranking, when the 17-year-old reached the top of the Under-18 boys' list on Friday (Aug 30).

The left-handed player, who was promoted to the national team in January 2019, had a previous best ranking of second in June and July, and was most recently fourth in the world in the age group.

He displaced Lev Katsman of Russia, who is the world No. 2 in the latest ranking, while Iran's Amin Ahmadian is third.

While China regularly dominate the senior rankings, the table tennis juggernaut's highest-ranked player in the U-18 list is Xiang Peng (sixth), while the next-best South-east Asian in the list is Thailand's Yanapong Panagitgun (ninth). At world No. 26, Josh Chua is the next-best Singaporean on the list.

"I am very happy that I am able to achieve this target," Koen said in a Singapore Table Tennis Association media release.

"It's a milestone and I'm really grateful for the support given to me by Singapore Table Tennis Association, SportSG, Singapore Sport Institute and Singapore Sports School.

"I hope this will spur the younger players to believe that with hard work and perseverance, all things are possible!"

Men's national coach and former national paddler Gao Ning said in the same release: "I am so proud of Koen's achievement. Koen has worked very hard for it and he truly deserves this new accomplishment.

"I encourage Koen to continue to work hard as this is just the beginning and I look forward to many more of his accomplishments."