Who are the Singaporeans competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

Team Singapore's contingent of 23 athletes will compete in a record 12 sports.
Team Singapore's contingent of 23 athletes will compete in a record 12 sports.PHOTO: TEAM SINGAPORE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The Republic has come a long way in its Olympic journey since weightlifter Tan Howe Liang's historic medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, with the table tennis women's team winning a silver medal at Beijing 2008, before swimmer Joseph Schooling took home the nation's first-ever gold with a record breaking performance in the 100m butterfly.

As the curtains come up on the Tokyo Olympics from July 23 to Aug 8, Team Singapore's contingent of 23 athletes will compete in a record 12 sports, with diving, equestrian and fencing to see debutants in Japan's capital.

Here are the Singapore athletes who are competing at the Tokyo Games.

Athletics

Shanti Pereira, 24

Event: Women's 200m

The national record holder in the women's 100m and 200m, Pereira will be Singapore's sole representative in track and field at the Olympics after she was handed a universality place, also known as a wildcard.

The 24-year-old had clocked her national 200m mark of 23.60sec at the 2015 SEA Games, where she won Singapore's first sprint gold in the biennial event in 42 years.

Pereira had been the front runner for the women's universality spot for the 2016 Rio Games but missed out after marathoner Neo Jie Shi qualified on merit.

Artistic gymnastics

Tan Sze En, 20


PHOTO: JEFF BARTEE

Event: All-around

Olympic debutante Tan's journey to the Tokyo Games has not been easy, with the 20-year-old gymnast having to battle a slew of injuries along the way.

Ahead of the 2017 SEA Games, she suffered a left ankle fracture during training and a year later underwent shoulder surgery after the Asian Games. This allowed her only three months of full-routine training before the 2019 World Championships but the gutsy athlete scored 48.098 in the all-around to secure her spot at the Olympics.

But she continued to be plagued by injuries as a partial tear in her left knee ligament forced her to miss out on the 2019 SEA Games again. Following news of the Olympics' delay last year, she underwent three wrist surgeries.

Badminton

Loh Kean Yew, 24


PHOTO: ST FILE

Event: Men's singles

Singapore's top-ranked badminton player, world No.42 Loh will be making his debut at the Olympic Games alongside teammate Yeo Jia Min.

Originally from Penang, Malaysia, Loh moved across the Causeway to join elder brother Kean Hean to pursue sports and studies. He enrolled at the Singapore Sports School and eventually became a Singapore citizen, winning honours at the SEA Games in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

But Loh is best remembered for his giant-slaying feat at the 2019 Thailand Masters, when he defeated China's two-time Olympic champion and former world No.1 Lin Dan in the final.

Yeo Jia Min, 22


ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Event: Women's singles

Ranked 30th in the world, Yeo is a former junior world No.1 who is aiming to make her mark at the sport's biggest stage.

The 22-year-old, who won a bronze medal at the 2017 Asian Junior Championships, has claimed two titles on the tournament circuit - she won the 2018 Vietnam Open and Hyderabad Open a year later. She also won three team bronze medals at the SEA Games in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

Diving

Jonathan Chan, 24


PHOTO: ST FILE

Event: Men's 10m platform

Chan notched a first for Singapore two years ago when he earned a spot in the Tokyo Games at the 2019 Asian Diving Cup in Kuala Lumpur, topping the field in the 10m platform with his score of 407.90.

The diver began his sporting career as a gymnast when he was five, but he and his elder sister Kimberly switched to diving in 2010.

At the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, he won his first medal - a bronze - at the biennial event in the 10m platform, before clinching two bronzes in the individual and synchronised events two years later in Malaysia.

Freida Lim, 23


PHOTO: ST FILE

Event: Women's 10m platform

Following in the footsteps of her teammate Jonathan Chan, Lim is Singapore's first female diver at the Olympic Games after earning qualification at the Fina Diving World Cup in May.

As a child, Lim was a competitive swimmer until she was diagnosed with Graves' disease - an autoimmune disorder that leads to an overactive thyroid gland, also known as hyperthyroidism - when she was 13. She eventually had to make the switch to a less endurance-based sport and chose diving because of her affinity to the pool.

Her potential was affirmed when she claimed a silver with Myra Lee in the women's synchronised 10m platform and an individual bronze in the 10m platform at the 2015 SEA Games on home soil.

Equestrian

Caroline Chew, 29


PHOTO: KEVIN CHEW

Event: Individual dressage

Mounted on her trusty steed Tribiani, Chew scored a personal best of 69.674 at the Dressage Grand Prix in Le Mans, France for a place in Singapore history as the first local equestrian to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Horses have always been a part of Chew's family and she started riding at a young age. She and her elder sister Catherine, a showjumper, have competed for Singapore at competitions and major events like the SEA Games.

Currently based in England where she works as a lawyer, Chew won a bronze medal in the team dressage at the 2013 SEA Games, before adding four more medals to her collection in the 2015 and 2017 editions.

Fencing

Amita Berthier, 20


PHOTO: COURTESY OF AMITA BERTHIER

Event: Women's foil

The 20-year-old became the first Singaporean fencer to qualify for the Olympic Games when she defeated Uzbekistan's Yana Alborova 15-14 in the women's foil final at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament.

A former junior world No.1, the fencer in 2017 created history by beating Canada's Naomi Moindrot-Zillox to win the Junior World Cup.

She then made a big step up to the senior ranks to win three gold medals (team, individual) at the 2017 and 2019 SEA Games. In 2019, the University of Notre Dame undergraduate also became the first Singaporean to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association fencing championship.

Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman, 21


ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Event: Women's epee

SEA Games champion Kiria delivered a double delight for Singapore fencing at the same Olympic qualifier in Tashkent when she upstaged higher-ranked rivals to become the second local fencer in two days to earn a spot in Tokyo.

Ranked 207th in the world, she was fearless against Kazakhstan's world No.97 Ulyana Balaganskaya, beating her rival 15-13 in the women's epee final to qualify for the biggest event of her budding career.

Marathon swimming

Chantal Liew, 22


ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Event: Women's 10km marathon swimming

Liew made history this year when she became the first Singaporean to qualify in marathon swimming at the Olympics Games. She clocked 2hr 12min 20sec at the Fina Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifiers in Portugal in June to finish 29th out of 40 athletes as the best Asian finisher.

Originally a backstroke swimmer, she made the switch to marathon swimming after failing to qualify for the 200m backstroke at the 2017 SEA Games. She went on to win a silver at the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur.

Rowing

Joan Poh, 30


ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Events: Women's single sculls

Poh's journey from national dragon boater to sailor and rower is one of resilience and perseverance, with her efforts finally bearing fruit when she received news of her Olympic qualification in May.

The 30-year-old had finished 12th at the Asia and Oceania qualification regatta in Tokyo on May 7 but only got confirmation of her berth close to three weeks later while she was serving a 21-day quarantine in a hotel.

A nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Poh has also had to overcome financial issues in order to realise her Olympic dream.

Sailing

Amanda Ng, 27


ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Event: Women's RS:X

Despite slipping and injuring her knee two days before the Mussanah Open Championship in Oman, a wheelchair-bound Ng surfed through the pain and mental anguish to earn a hard-won ticket to Tokyo by finishing first in the RS:X medal race.

This will be the windsurfer's second outing at the Olympics, after her debut in Rio de Janeiro five years ago, when she competed in the women's 470 with Jovina Choo, finishing 20th.

Kimberly Lim, 24 & Cecilia Low, 28


PHOTO: COURTESY OF JOAO COSTA FERREIRA

Event: Women's 49erFX

This is the first Olympic Games for the duo, who had both achieved success with different sailing partners in the 420 dinghy before pairing up in 2015 in the 49erFX.

Three years later, they won gold at the 2018 Asian Games. A year later, the sailors earned Singapore a place at the Olympics after they came in 15th at the Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships.

Ryan Lo, 24


PHOTO: COURTESY OF THOM TOUW

Event: Men's Laser

In April, Lo finally achieved his Olympic goal when he finished first in the men's laser at the Mussanah Open Championship, where he won five of the 10 races and placed seventh in the medal race for a nett score of 31 points.

The 24-year-old, who won a bronze at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and gold at the 2019 SEA Games, had put his university studies on hold for two years in order to compete in his first Olympic Games.

Shooting

Adele Tan, 22


ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Event: Women's 10m air rifle

After going through a selection process that took one-and-a-half years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tan finally got her ticket to the Olympics when she was picked by the Singapore Shooting Association in May.

She emerged top among a group of shooters that included London 2012 and Rio 2016 representative Jasmine Ser, 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Martina Veloso and Tessa Neo, who secured the Olympic quota at the 2019 Asian Shooting Championship. The selection process took into account four meets, including the H&N Cup 2010 where she set a national record of 632.5 points en route to a gold medal.

Swimming

Joseph Schooling, 26


PHOTO: ST FILE

Event: Men's 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly

He was the talk of the town - in Rio de Janeiro and back home in Singapore - five years ago after beating American superstar and childhood idol Michael Phelps in the 100m fly final in an Olympic record time of 50.39sec.

The 26-year-old has struggled in the pool since and his season's best time of 52.93sec is well behind that of his rivals Caeleb Dressel of the United States and Hungary's Kristof Milak. Between them the duo have clocked seven of the eight fastest times in the 100m fly in the world, with former Bolles School teammate and world record holder Dressel owning the fastest time this year of 49.76sec.

Quah Zheng Wen, 24


PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Event: Men's 100m backstroke, 100m & 200m butterfly

Quah will be competing in his third Olympic Games after making his debut in London 2012 and will be joined by elder sister Ting Wen, who was handed a universality spot in Tokyo.

The University of California, Berkeley student has won multiple gold medals at the SEA Games and will be looking to make a splash in Tokyo this time.

At the San Antonio leg of the Pro Swim Series in Texas in March, he beat American swimmers Tom Shields, Chase Kalisz and 13-gold world champion Caeleb Dressel to first place in the 200m fly.

Quah Ting Wen, 28


PHOTO: ST FILE

Event: Women's 50m &100m freestyle

Like her younger brother Zheng Wen, she is also competing in her third Olympic Games this month via a universality spot.

Quah had initially considered retiring after the Rio Games and was diagnosed with depression in 2017, but the oldest of the three swimming siblings - younger sister Jing Wen is based in the United States - is relishing the opportunity to race among the world's best again.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the multiple SEA Games champion was the first Singaporean to compete in the International Swimming League last year with United States-based team DC Trident and was recently signed on for a third season.

Table tennis

Clarence Chew, 25


PHOTO: SINGAPORE TABLE TENNIS ASSOCIATION

Event: Men's singles

Hailing from a family of table tennis players, Chew first represented Singapore at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games held here.

The youth event fuelled his desire to compete at the Olympic Games, a dream he achieved in March when he beat teammate Koen Pang to top the Asean field at the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Doha to clinch his ticket to Tokyo.

Chew is the first Singapore-born table tennis player to qualify for the men's singles at the Olympics. The 25-year-old has won 10 medals at the SEA Games and a team gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Feng Tianwei, 34


PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION

Events: Women's singles, women's team

This is Feng's fourth outing at the Olympic Games after Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The veteran paddler is also Singapore's most decorated Olympian with a team silver (2008) and two bronze medals (individual, team) from the 2012 edition.

After a disappointing outing in Brazil where the team returned home empty-handed, the world No.9 player will be looking to close out her career with a fourth medal in Tokyo but will face tough opposition from the hosts, as well as table tennis giants China.

Yu Mengyu, 31


PHOTO: WORLD TABLE TENNIS

Events: Women's singles, women's team

This is Yu's second outing at the Olympic Games after her debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, when she finished fourth in the women's team and qualified for the women's singles quarter-finals.

Yu, who has won multiple medals at the SEA Games, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, has been plagued by injuries in recent years and will be aiming for success in what could be her final hurrah.

Lin Ye, 25


PHOTO: REUTERS

Event: Women's team

A debutant at the Tokyo Games, Lin is the youngest member of the women's team.

One of the 25-year-old's most notable wins was in 2015, when she and doubles partner Zhou Yihan upset veteran teammates Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu to clinch the women's doubles title at the SEA Games in Singapore.

The pair continued their winning momentum at the Japan Open with another giant-slaying feat as they beat top Chinese pair Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen in the semi-finals.