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Men's and women's teams from Singapore have been eliminated from the World Team Table Tennis Cships

Men's and women's teams from Singapore have been eliminated from the World Team Table Tennis Cships


SINGAPORE Singapore's women's and men's teams paid the price for underperformance when they were eliminated from the World Team Table Tennis Championships on February 21, losing 3-0 to Poland and Iran respectively in the play-off rounds.

The trio of Zhou Jingyi, Zeng Jian and Wong Xin Ru, ranked 10th in the world, could not beat the 20th-ranked Europeans. All three lost their matches at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center with the same 3-2 scoreline.

National women's coach Jing Junhong decried the small margins costing her players. She said: We lost, but looking at the individual match scores it was a much closer match.

Our opponents were very aggressive today and made a lot of offensive shots. On the other hand, we were more conservative in our approach, which would hurt us in a competition like this.

In the future, we hope that we can learn from this tournament, put it into practice and train to be more courageous.

World No. 103 Zhou pushed 52nd Natalia Bajor all the way to the front before succumbing 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8. It was a similarly close battle between Zeng Jian (No. 60) and Katarzyna Wegrzyn (No. 133), but the latter eventually won 11-4, 4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8.

Zuzanna Weilgos (No. 183) then sealed the win, coming from two games behind to outlast Wong (No. 128) 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 14-12 to send Poland to the final 16.

The defeat leaves Singapore's chances of qualifying for the women's team event at the Olympics in doubt. They had to finish in the top eight of this tournament to earn an automatic spot.

The Republic has competed in the women's team competition at every Summer Games since its introduction in Beijing 2008 and has captured two Olympic medals at the event (silver in 2008 and bronze in London 2012).

The women's team could still make it to Paris 2024, depending on the round of 16 results at the world championships, their world ranking in March and the number of unused quota spots.

Jing commented: There is still a chance for us to qualify for the Olympic Games and we can only hope that there are no easy opponents at this stage and everyone will fight for a place.

In the men's competition, Singapore, ranked 22nd in the world, could not find a way past the 27th-ranked Iranians.

World number 79 Koen Pang lost the first match 3-1 (6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-6) against world number 240 Nima Alamian, while Izaac Quek (number 55) was outplayed 3-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-4) by Noshad Alamiyan (No. 51).

Amir Hossein Hodaei (No. 122) sealed the victory with a 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-5) victory over Clarence Chew (No. 171).

Given their world ranking, the Singapore men's team cannot qualify for the Paris Olympics. Their last appearance at the quadrennial Games was during the 2012 edition.

Pang, who won four of his five matches during the group stages as Singapore had started their campaign with a shock to world number 8 Brazil, said: The match against Iran was never going to be easy but I had the feeling that wasn't the was the case. We are playing our best today and we could have done much better.

We are still going to work hard and try to qualify individually for the Olympics and were all looking forward to the Singapore Smash in March.




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