Table tennis: Singapore paddlers book spot in Rio Olympics

SINGAPORE - Singapore table tennis will have at least one male and female representative each at the Olympics as the Republic's paddlers delivered the goods at the Olympic qualifier in Hong Kong.

World No. 7 Feng Tianwei's win over Thailand's Suthasini Sawettabut, the reigning SEA Games champion, in the semi-final of the South-east Asia segment meant it will be an all-Singapore final.

She will meet compatriot Yu Mengyu, who defeated fellow Singaporean Zhou Yihan 4-0 (11-8, 13-11, 11-9, 11-3) in the other women's semi-final.

Feng dispatched world No. 59 Suthasini 4-0 (11-8, 12-10, 14-12, 11-7) on Thursday to reach the final. The winner will qualify for August's Olympics, to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

As expected, the Republic's male paddlers also reached the final four without a hitch.

But there was an upset in the first semi-final, when world No. 149 Chen Feng defeated his world No. 27 team-mate Gao Ning.

Chen will play either Yang Zi or Li Hu in the final for the Olympic berth.

The qualifying tournament is divided into two stages - regional, then continental-wide.

The men's and women's champions of each regional tournament - of which there are five - will qualify for Rio. For the continental-wide segment, six men's and women's singles spots are up for grabs.

If the Singapore players fail to secure a spot in Hong Kong, they can still qualify for Rio by being among the top 22 players in the International Table Tennis Federation's Olympic singles ranking.

Each National Olympic Committee (NOC) can field a maximum of two players in the singles events, and NOCs with two qualified singles athletes will qualify for the team event.