SINGAPORE - Paddler Izaac Quek has become the first Singaporean to top the Under-15 boys’ world ranking list, which was released by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) on Tuesday (April 13).
The 14-year-old said: “I’m delighted to see my hard work for the past few years pay off through attaining this milestone, which is a goal I had set for myself.
“I hope my achievements will inspire more juniors to join me in taking up table tennis and continue to elevate the standards in Singapore.”
Izaac now has his sights set on competing and winning in the higher age category events on the ITTF and World Table Tennis circuits, as well as representing Singapore at major Games.
“I will continue to work hard and achieve more sporting glory for Singapore, added the Singapore Sports School student-athlete.
In February last year, Izaac won the Cadet Boys’ (U-15) singles title without conceding a single game at the ITTF Swedish Junior and Cadet Open, before the global sporting calendar was heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
While Izaac did not play in another international competition for the rest of the year and ended 2020 as world No. 3, he moved to the summit in the latest rankings as China’s world No. 1 Chen Yuanyu and Romania’s world No. 2 Darius Movileanu are no longer eligible for this age category.
Izaac’s foundations were built at the STTA’s Bishan Zone Training Centre which he joined when he was seven. He subsequently moved up the association’s junior development squad and youth training squad ranks before he was promoted to the intermediate squad last year.
Earmarked as a potential national player in the future, Izaac also served notice of his talent when he won the men’s doubles event with SEA Games doubles silver medallist Ethan Poh and finished third in the men’s singles at the National Table Tennis Grand Finale in March.
It is understood that the STTA is considering fielding Izaac for the Asian Youth Games in Guangdong or the Hanoi SEA Games in November.
Meanwhile, teammate Ser Lin Qian moved up from sixth to third in the U-15 girls’ singles world ranking.
STTA president Ellen Lee said: “We are so proud of Izaac’s achievement. He has worked very hard for it and truly deserves this new accomplishment. His achievements serve as a testament that STTA is on the right path of grooming high-potential talents into world-class athletes.”
In August 2019, Koen Pang became the first Singaporean to top a table tennis world ranking, when he was U-18 boys’ world No. 1. He went on to become SEA Games men’s singles champion later that year.