Table Tennis: No SEA Games medal targets set, but STTA chief Ellen Lee expects maximum effort

STTA president Ellen Lee has not set any medal targets for the paddlers at the SEA Games.
STTA president Ellen Lee has not set any medal targets for the paddlers at the SEA Games.PHOTO: SHIN MIN

SINGAPORE- Currently undergoing a period of transition, where the squad is fielding more youthful players, Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Ellen Lee has not set any medal targets for the team at this month's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, but she called upon the team to give their all in pursuit of honours.

The team won six out of the seven medals on offer at the 2015 edition held on home soil, but the table tennis chief is not setting any hard target.

At a press conference to share the team's SEA Games plans on Thursday (Aug 3), Lee said: "All our players will want to win a medal through their individual effort and team effort. And we encourage them to do their best and their purpose of going to the SEA Games is to win medals. So let's give them the confidence and give them that boost they very much need to win those medals.

"Every one of them know they have a part to play in this special competition. This is where we are competing against South-east Asian countries and we are known to be the best. Therefore, we have to live up to the reputation as well even as we take in the fact our neighbours are also improving their game as well."

The Republic will be represented by Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu, Zhou Yihan, Lin Ye and Yee Herng Hwee in the women's team while Gao Ning, Clarence Chew, Pang Xuejie, Ethan Poh and Lucas Tan will form the men's team.

Lee revealed that sparring partners from Chinese Taipei and Europe have been invited to polish the Singaporean paddlers' skills for the past month.

These include Kou Lei, the world No.42 from the Ukraine, and 18-year-old Ho Tin-Tin, the British paddler who won a mixed doubles silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Lee has been impressed with the team's effort, saying: "Preparation has been good, very intensive. Long hours are put in, special effort has been put in as well. It's been drummed into them how important this Games are to Singapore.

"We have not stated in so many words what (colour of medals) we want them to bring. They know they have to do their best. The pressure is always there as they are not only competing against (other South-east Asian) competitors, they are also competing against themselves to see how much they could up their own game.

"My own expectation is that they should really do their best because we have been giving them all the opportunities and all the training that is necessary. So we want to see a certain return as well."