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Singaporean table tennis player Zhou Jingyi, 19, joins Izaac Quek and Zeng Jian in qualifying for the Olympic Games

Singaporean table tennis player Zhou Jingyi, 19, joins Izaac Quek and Zeng Jian in qualifying for the Olympic Games
Singaporean table tennis player Zhou Jingyi, 19, joins Izaac Quek and Zeng Jian in qualifying for the Olympic Games


SINGAPORE Teenager Zhou Jingyi recorded another major milestone in her steady rise as the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) confirmed her qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on June 12.

Based on the latest ITTF rankings, she sits 63rd in the Race to Paris and earned her spot as the top Asian player yet to qualify.

This means the 19-year-old Singaporean is the youngest regionally-born female table tennis player to qualify for the Olympics, after Tan Paey Fern became the first to do so for Athens in 2004 at the age of 30.

Zhou, who is in Slovenia for the WTT Star Contender Ljubljana, said: Over the past year, we have traveled extensively around the world in preparation for the Olympic Games.

It was exhausting both physically and mentally, especially with an injury. However, thanks to the many competition opportunities, I was able to improve considerably. Qualifying for the Olympic Games is incredibly meaningful to me as it has been my goal since day one.

The Singapore Sports School (SSP) alumna, who took up the sport at the age of five, showed her potential at an early age.

At the age of 12, she became the first Singaporean to win the ITTF World Hopes Week and Challenge in Luxembourg in 2017.

A year later, she climbed to fifth place in the ITTF Under-15 girls world rankings, becoming the youngest Singaporean to break into the top five.

The right-hander, who plays with a shake handle, continued to win at junior and cadet levels before winning the WTT Youth Contender Szombathely Under-17 girls' singles gold in 2021 and being promoted to the senior national team in January 2022.

Outside of sports, she adjusted her academic path after second grade by switching from SSP's International Baccalaureate program to the Polytechnic continuing program. After graduating from SSP in 2021, she put her polytechnic enrollment on hold to focus on table tennis full-time.

Although she has suffered several knee injuries in recent years after frequent competition, she has also earned her reward as she is set to become the third Singaporean table tennis player to make her Olympic debut alongside Izaac Quek, 18, and Zeng Jian. 27, who confirmed their place in a qualifying tournament in May.

Zhou said: My mentality for the Olympic Games is to focus on each competition and gain experience and exposure on this unique stage. I plan to approach my competitions with the same mentality as any other competition and perform to the best of my ability.




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