Desserts to beat the heat

Vegan ice cream from Brownice.

With the heatwave that Singapore has been experiencing lately, desserts are something that many have turned to for some much needed relief.

The highest temperatures clocked in the last few days have hovered around the 36 degrees celsius mark, with residents in Choa Chu Kang suffering the brunt of the heatwave most.

April is traditionally the hottest month of the year although the Meteorological Services Singapore says it's not likely to get anywhere near to the 40 degrees celsius seen in Malaysia recently.

Granted, Singapore is warm almost all-year-round, so there is never really a time when Singaporeans are not looking to consume refreshing cold treats.

Below is a list of different kinds of desserts which we think will help quench your thirst.





89 Rangoon Road #01-02 Urban Lofts (near Farrer Park MRT)

Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 2pm - 11pm, Saturday to Sunday: 12pm - 11pm

Price Range: $12 - $16

This cafe is one of the rare cafes serving Halal-certified bingsu in Singapore. One of its unique offerings is the 'Local Twists' menu, which includes the Duri Durian bingsu, giving the popular Korean dessert a little Singaporean twist.



2 Jurong East Central 1 #02-67 (near Jurong East MRT)

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 12:30pm - 9:30pm

Price Range: $6 - $10

One of the most affordable bingsu cafes in Singapore, this is one for those on a budget. Although the ice is slightly coarser, the overflow of toppings makes up for it. Besides bingsu, One Ice Cafe also serves belgian waffles with ice cream, another dessert that would provide you with a slight relief in this heat. Check out the cafe's Instagram at @oneicecafe for promotions.



45 Burghley Drive (Burghley Lifestyle Hub) #01-04 (near Lorong Chuan MRT)

Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 12pm - 11pm, Friday - Saturday: 10am - 11pm, Sunday: 10am - 10pm

Price Range: $12 - $16

Nunsongyee prides itself in its authenticity - the owner of this cosy cafe is Korean.

They have the traditional pat bingsu (red bean) and the injeolmi bingsu (ricecake) along with several other creations.

Many customers visit the cafe because of its ambience, which they say reminds them of Korea.

If you ever feel like having bingsu in Korea, this is where you should visit. Nothing beats having a cold dessert in a place so cosy!

Nunsongyee also has outlets in Bugis (24 hours) and Upper Thompson Road.


Dessert Drinks



430 Upper Changi Road, #01-14, East Village (near Tanah Merah MRT)

Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 1pm - 9pm, Friday: 3pm - 10pm, Saturday to Sunday: 12pm - 9pm

Price Range: 1 for $5 or 2 for $9

This recently-opened cafe sells the Halal-certified Overdose drink that was previously only available in Johor. Now, you don't have to go across the Causeway just to get your Overdose fix. The sweet drinks are sold in pretty huge portions too!



83 Tanjong Pagar Road (near Tanjong Pagar MRT)

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 12pm - 9:30pm

Price Range: $14 - $17

If you have a knack for discovering sweet delicacies, you've probably heard of 'Over The Top' milkshakes. Cakeshake™ is the name coined by Cake Spade for the special drinks assembled by them, which comes in a series of four different flavours.

These drinks are not for the weak-hearted, but if you're someone who can handle your sugar, it's definitely something worth trying!



Block 915 Tampines St 91 #01-49 (Near Tampines SAFRA)

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 3pm - 11pm, Saturday, Sunday & public holidays: 2pm - 11pm

Price Range: $9 - $14

This is another one for the sweet toothed: Meet & Melt is a family-owned cafe specialising in Shibuya toast and 'Over The Top' milkshakes.

All their recipes are home-made, and with it situated in the Tampines heartland, there is no better place to enjoy some cold desserts with your loved ones.


Frozen Yogurt



112 East Coast #B1-27 i12 Katong

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 11am - 10pm

Price Range: $3 - $9

Velvet adds their own little twist to the standard waffles and ice cream combination; they serve theirs with frozen yogurt instead. Something that might catch your eye while you're over there is their frozen yogurt cakes. It's a somewhat healthier option, and it still tastes delicious! Like their Facebook page to enjoy a 10 per cent discount on your first visit.



Block 201E Tampines Street 23 #01-120 (near Tampines East Community Centre)

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 12pm - 10pm

Price Range: $0.33 per 10g

Frozilicious is a Halal-certified frozen yogurt store in Tampines. The yogurt here is self-serve, so you can experience the excitement of using the yogurt machine yourself. The price you pay is based on the weight, so you can go crazy with the large variety of toppings they provide. They offer different flavours every week, so follow them on Instagram at @frozilicious so you don't miss out on updates on new flavours. If you spend above $5, you will also receive a rewards card.



175 Bencoolen Street, #01-56 Burlington Square

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 12pm - 9pm, Sunday: 11am - 6pm

Price Range: $2.80 - $6.20

At Yogart, you finally can have your froyo and waffle fix, all at the same time without hurting your wallet.

The most unique thing about it is that every cup of yogurt comes with a wafer biscuit, and they sell yogurt popsicles as well, which come in various flavours such as Mango, Raspberry and Yuzu.

Now you don't have to go through the trouble of having to use two hands to savour your favourite frozen yogurts.


Healthier Choices



8 Sin Ming Road, #01-03 Sin Ming Centre

Opening hours: Sunday to Monday: 12pm - 10pm, Friday to Saturday: 12pm - 11pm

Price Range: $4 per scoop, $2 for every additional scoop, $4 for a waffle or brownie

Brownice does not only sell vegan pizzas and pastas, but vegan ice cream as well!

Their ice cream are homemade using brown rice.

They have several flavours such as Chocolate Hazelnut, Matcha, Black Sesame and Earl Grey.

They are so creamy and flavourful that it's hard to believe no eggs or milk were used to produce the ice cream.

A plus point is that the calories in these are only one-third of normal ice creams!

You can also pair a scoop or two with their vegan waffles and brownies.



27 Lorong Liput, Holland Village

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 11am - 10pm or until sold out

391 Orchard Road, #B2-32A, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Ngee Ann City

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 11am - 9.30pm or until sold out

Price Range: $7 - $15

You can purchase it in a bowl, or even a smoothie-to-go.

There are two bowl options - Original Flower Bowl (granola, fresh fruits, superfoods such as bee pollen, cacao nibs, coconut shavings, chia seeds and goji berries) or Nuts for Acai Bowl (granola, banana, cacao nibs, chia seeds and a choice of 2 butters - almond butter, peanut butter or cookie butter).

If you think that it'd taste bland, fret not because their acai blend will leave your taste buds wanting for more.



779 Bukit Timah Rd

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 11am - 7pm, Friday: 11am - 10pm, Saturday: 9am - 10pm, Sunday: 9am - 8pm

Price Range: $5 - $10 for the desserts

Raw food is the heart of their menu.

They have desserts such as the Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake which is a rich mousse cake with a base made out of nuts and dates. Another must-try dessert would be their Raw Cranberry and Lemon Pistachio Cake which has a light and smooth filling.

They are also known for their raw savoury foods which you can always try before having their yummy desserts.


Something Different



Various Locations around Singapore

Price Range: $2.50 - $6.50

It is a dessert from Taiwan

that allows you to personalise toppings to your liking for under $7!

You can choose a grass jelly, iced grass jelly shavings or beancurd base (mix it up if you want), and then choose your toppings from taro balls, matcha balls to pudding and pearls! It's a simple yet satisfying dessert and most importantly, conveniently located and wallet friendly.

They also sell bubble tea if you would like to slurp some iced milk tea or even melon tea to refresh yourself.



60 Paya Lebar Road, #02-15 Paya Lebar Square

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 10am - 10pm

1 Raffles Place, #03-25

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 10am - 9pm

Price Range: $6.50 - $16

Different from your usual Korean snowshave, Smoothie House brings snowshaves, or what they call 'cotton snow' or 'snowflake' to a whole new level.

An interesting fusion with this sweet Taiwanese dessert with their sweet and silky Italian panna cotta, it comes in several flavours such as sweet taro and peanut, mango and matcha.

Smaller versions of these are also available for take-aways.

If you want to have a refreshing fruit drink, they got you covered as well.



458 Joo Chiat Road

Opening hours: Tuesday - Thursday: 12pm - 10pm, Friday - Saturday: 12pm - 12am, Sunday: 12pm - 10pm

Price Range: $7 - $9 for the desserts

A marvellous fusion between the local flavours of Singapore and western style, you would never expect to fall in love with it.

We suggest trying their Durian Pengat, Chilled Pandan Souffle and Orange Kaya Pisang Creme Brulee which would leave you begging for more.

The weird concoction of different flavours will take your tastebuds on a roller coaster ride that you'd never forget.

You can try their other savoury menu items but these desserts are something you must not miss.

Help! Did these Japanese girls hijack my phone?

The Japanese girl group featured in the video, Lyrics School.

All you did was click to watch a video of a new J-pop song.

But before you know it, dancing Japanese girls are messing up your screen, taking over your FaceTime, Twitter and Vine.

That is exactly what J-pop girl group Lyrical School did with the music video of their latest song Run and Run.

Launched on April 6, the video, which features members of the pop group "popping" up over various apps, has gone viral, with over 1 million views on Vimeo so far.

Starting from the iPhone's lock screen, the video kicks off with a video message featuring the six girls dancing.

The immersive video starts off with this message prompting the phone to be unlocked. VIDEO: VIMEO/RUNANDRUN_LYRISCH

Throughout the video, these girls appear through the phone's camera, e-mail, and social media sites like Vine.

Their "video" starts getting shares on the Twitter page. VIDEO: VIMEO/RUNANDRUN_LYRISCH

The video even includes the regular phone transitions like apps launching and push notifications.

These girls scroll through Twitter for you from behind their screen. VIDEO: VIMEO/RUNANDRUN_LYRISCH

It's like your iPhone has a life of its own and became the No. 1 fan of this girl group.


And... they pop out of it too. How neat. VIDEO: VIMEO/RUNANDRUN_LYRISCH

However, as the video uses the iOS interface, the effect seems to be fully effective only for iPhone users.

Watch the full video here:


Game of Thrones cast sing about their season in music

Game Of Thrones actors John Bradley, Maisie Williams and Jonathan Pryce at the sixth season premiere in Los Angeles.

A new season (although is it still winter?) is coming.

With Game of Thrones returning next week to HBO for its sixth season, the same question that is asked every season is sure to be hanging over every fan's head – what's going to happen to our favourite characters?

To find out without giving too much away, The New Paper asked several members of the show's ensemble cast to describe their characters' story for the new season with a song or band.

Sorry, we didn't get Kit Harrington to say whether Jon Snow's season was more This is the End by The Doors or Queen's The Show Must Go On.

Maisie Williams, who plays Snow's half-sister Arya Stark, did describe her season with the unofficial 1998 World Cup song Tubthumping by Chumbawamba.

The 19-year-old said: "What's that song that goes 'I get knocked down, then I get up again'?

"I think that's a really good song for the season for Arya. She gets knocked down a lot of times."

Maisie Williams (right), who plays Arya Stark, with her co-star Tom Wlaschiha, who plays Arya's mentor Jaqen H'ghar. SCREENSHOT: HBO

For in-the-wind lovers Samwell Tarly and Gilly, John Bradley opted for Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run "Because tramps like them, baby, they were born to run," said the Manchester-born actor while Hannah Murray cryptically described her season using Madonna's Material Girl.

While Iwan Rheon settled on punk rock band Black Flag for the dastardly Ramsay Bolton, the Welsh actor agreed with Michael McElhatton's choice for his on-screen father Roose a death metal number.

"They'll just sit there together headbanging and laughing, evil-ly," joked Rheon.

Actors Michael McElhatton (left) and Iwan Rheon believe their villainous Game of Thrones characters Roose and Ramsay Bolton would definitely rock out to a death metal number. SCREENSHOT: HBO

And finally take this with a pinch of salt, mind veteran actor Jonathan Pryce said that the High Sparrow, together with Dean-Charles Chapman's Tommen Baratheon, will do a song and dance number for the Sparrows.

Not just any dance number a Billy Elliot-esque dance number. With Pryce as the eponymous ballet dancer from said movie.

We'll only believe it when we see it, Jon.

Jonathan Pryce (right) claims his High Sparrow character will do a Billy Elliot-esque song and dance number with Dean-Charles Chapman's Thommen Baratheon. SCREENSHOT: HBO

Game of Thrones Season 6 premieres at the same time as the US on HBO on Monday morning (April 25) at 9am.

10 years' jail for man who fled to Thailand after stabbing

STABBED: Murder victim Leong Fook Weng was found with stab wounds
in his chest. DUMPED: The vacant plot of land on Kheam Hock Road where Mr Leong Fook Weng's body was found.
DUMPED: The vacant plot of land on Kheam Hock Road where Mr Leong Fook Weng's body was found.

They were thankful when he received a 10-year jail sentence yesterday.

See Chee Keong's family wanted him to "face responsibility" for his actions which caused the death of another man on May 17, 2000.

Yesterday, Justice Chan Seng Onn found See guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for stabbing Mr Leong Fook Weng in the heart and neck with a 5cm blade hidden in a lighter.

Mr Leong, 36, was attacked by See and his four accomplices on the way to a vacant plot along Kheam Hock Road, off Dunearn Road.

Mr Leong Fook Weng

See's younger brother, Mr See Kok Keong, told The New Paper his elder brother, now 50, became a changed man while in a Cambodian prison, where he converted to Christianity.

Said Kok Keong, 49: "We told him he had a lot to look forward to back in Singapore.

"He has his grandson and his family here. Fortunately, he made peace with himself.

"He has decided not to run away from the law any more and face his responsibilities here ."

Kok Keong was in court with his sister, See's ex-wife and the couple's children.

See had fled to Thailand on May 18, 2000, a day after the attack.

In December that year, he was caught at Phnom Penh Airport in Cambodia while attempting to smuggle drugs to Kuala Lumpur.

He was later sentenced to 18 years' jail for drug trafficking.

After spending 13 years in jail, See received a royal pardon and was released on Nov 26, 2013. He was deported to Singapore the next day and was arrested on arrival.

On the stabbing, Deputy Public Prosecutor Anandan Bala said the attack on Mr Leong was "premeditated and prolonged".

Mr Leong had apparently been targeted for his arrogance and gang disloyalty.

Some time before 4.30am on May 17, 2000, See and four others, who were having supper at a shop in River Valley Road, were unhappy with Mr Leong.

They wanted to teach Mr Leong a lesson for switching loyalty from Ang Soon Tong to Loh Kuan secret society.

From the time Mr Leong was located at a wake in Upper Boon Keng Road, he was assaulted a total of four times by See and his accomplices.

Mr Leong was attacked at the wake, at a petrol station near Tanjong Katong Road and in the back seat of See's car while on the way to the vacant plot in Kheam Hock Road.

The final and fatal attack, which lasted no more than 15 minutes, happened between 4.30 and 6.30am at the vacant land.

Mr Leong's body was discovered only in his underwear a few hours later.

See's stab to Mr Leong's heart resulted in "acute haemorrhage" which likely led to his death.

Defence lawyer James Bahadur Masih had argued for a sentence of eight years in jail, saying See was remorseful after leading a miserable life in Cambodia.

There was no intention to kill Mr Leong as his client only wanted to "teach him a lesson".

He said See, who has three adult children from his first wife and a teenage son from his second marriage, had missed his family.

Said Mr Masih: "Even though this was for a different offence, the reason he had to spend time in jail was because when he fled Singapore, he became a fugitive and began to deal in drug trafficking to earn a living."

However, DPP Anandan said See's "suffering" in Cambodia should not be seen as a mitigating factor as See had "run away and engaged in serious crimes in Cambodia".

While two of See's accomplices had been dealt with by the law, two others are still at large. (See pictures below.)



10 years' jail (2016)


Nine years' jail, 12 strokes of the cane (2003)


Six months' jail (2003)


At large


At large

Captain America passes not just for package buyers

Organiser clears the air after fans complain about pricey Captain America packages

IN TOWN: Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans (above), Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie, who will be walking the 'blue carpet' at Marina Bay Sands this evening.
IN TOWN: Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan (above) and Anthony Mackie, who will be walking the 'blue carpet' at Marina Bay Sands this evening.
IN TOWN: Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie (above), who will be walking the 'blue carpet' at Marina Bay Sands this evening.

A day before Captain America: Civil War's highly anticipated "blue carpet" premiere this evening at Marina Bay Sands' (MBS) ice-skating rink, there has been chaos and confusion among fans over what access they would get at the public event.

Events company and organiser Reed Exhibitions has been slammed online for being exploitative with its $688 and $1,288 package deals.

These package deals include exclusive blue carpet passes to get up close with the movie's cast members, Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie, who play Captain America, Winter Soldier and Falcon respectively.

The film opens here on April 28.

Though the event, which starts at 5.45pm, is free and open to the public, the sale of these packages gave fans the impression that only those willing to shell out the cash would be allowed to rub shoulders with the trio.

So what's the deal?

#TeamCap enthusiasts, we lay down the facts.

Do the blue carpet passes cost $688 and $1,288?


The New Paper understands that the blue carpet passes - that grant special access to the restricted VIP zone close to the stage within MBS' ice-skating rink - are additional perks in the $688 and $1,288 package deals. The passes are bundled as a set with the gala movie premiere tickets.

It is believed that Disney and MBS have given out blue carpet passes - at no cost - to invited children and teenagers as part of the companies' corporate social responsibility initiatives.

These passes were also given to contest winners, VVIPs and other invited guests.

Those who bought the $688 package are essentially paying for a collectible figurine, a T-shirt, a one-day Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) ticket and a complimentary activity such as laser tag at Marvel's Captain America Festival at MBS. The festival starts today and ends on Sunday.

For $1,288, buyers get the same perks, plus a one-night stay in a deluxe room at MBS.

When asked about complaints by fans and netizens. Ms Lin Koh, assistant project director of Reed Exhibitions, told The New Paper that it has not received any complaints from buyers.

She added in an e-mail statement: "We were provided a very small number of passes (by Disney). Only a small handful of passes were packaged into a premium fan experience for devoted fans.

"The packages are fully subscribed. We are still receiving inquiries about passes, but unfortunately, we do not have any more."

Since the blue carpet event is supposedly free and open to the public, will non-pass holders get the same access?

TNP understands that those without passes will have to count on sheer luck to snag that prized selfie or autograph, as most of the blue carpet area within the rink will be barricaded.

But fret not.

The start of the blue carpet, where Evans, Stan and Mackie will enter from, begins near Cold Storage.

So camp out there and maybe you'll get lucky, if the Hollywood actors decide to slow down and interact with the crowd, and not just walk past you without stopping.

Members of the public can also view the event from the upper levels of MBS.


I didn't know (the passes) were (part of a package available on sale) prior to getting them from my brother. I wouldn't have forked out that much... but I feel fortunate to get them.

­­- Mr Michael Chew, 36, director in a food manufacturing company

It all boils down to supply and demand. There will be people who are willing to pay. It's unlikely that I'll pay even if I'm a fan. Everyone just has to be realistic. Even if you are up close, you may not get a photo or autograph.

­­- Mr Benedict Choo, 33, event organiser

Singapore regain place in rugby's Div 1

Premium content not available
Tags: Singapore, sport and Asia

Athletics' turn to rock the National Stadium

The National Stadium is set to host four athletics events from April 28 to May 8, following the hosting of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series last weekend.

The two-day 78th Singapore Open Track & Field Championships will kick off the 11 days of athletics action at the stadium on April 28, with its second day coinciding with the finals of the National Inter-Schools Track & Field Championships.

The 55,000-seater stadium will then host the ActiveSG Athletics Fiesta on April 30 and May 1, before the Asia Masters Athletics Championships are staged from May 4 to 8. The back-to-back events are the result of a collaboration between Singapore Athletics (SA), Sport Singapore (SportSG), Ministry of Education and the Singapore Sports Hub.

The four events will see athletes aged 13 to 99 competing.

SA president Tang Weng Fei said: "The opportunity to compete alongside some of the region's best athletes in the iconic National Stadium... will surely inspire our local athletes to put in their best during the competition."

The various agencies are aiming to hold the respective events together in the following years, with the exception of the Asia Masters, for which Singapore won the 2016 hosting rights in 2012.

SportSG CEO Lim Teck Yin said: "It is our aspiration to eventually establish a series of quality events which all local and even regional athletes gunning for glory in the track and field scene can look forward to each year.

"We hope to inspire not just a generation of great track and field athletes, but also a nation of proud and enthusiastic supporters."


Yi Ren claims A Boys' javelin gold with personal best

RJC thrower overcomes nerves to set personal best and win A Boys' javelin gold

He started as a hurdler for Nanyang Primary School but, when Tan Yi Ren entered Catholic High School, his coach labelled him "different" and moved him to throws.

That move paid off yesterday, when he bettered his previous personal best of 49 metres with a throw of 53.75m to help Raffles Junior College retain the A Division Boys' javelin title.

"I did not expect this at all," the 16-year-old (photo) told The New Paper after the event at Hwa Chong Institution (HCI). "I just wanted to have fun, so I feel very happy.

"It's very important as an athlete to always give back to our school because they've provided us with a good environment to train.

"My coach told me to work on improving my technique and to always be relaxed."

Before starting his run-up, Yi Ren stood silently with his eyes closed and hands clasped around the javelin.

He roared with satisfaction after his 53.75m throw overtook silver medallist Justyn Phoa (50.40m) of HCI.

"I'm quite tense sometimes, so it's something I always do to try and maintain my chill," Yi Ren said, referring to his pre-throw routine.

RJC coach Akid Chong Mohd Isham admitted that Yi Ren's achievement came as a "pleasant surprise", especially as nerves usually hinder him.

"His throws are all very stiff, so I'm working on making him relaxed because it seems to help a lot," said the coach.

"It is actually very good progress for him because when he first came in, he was throwing 47 or 48m, so we are always working on his technique."


Akid revealed that Yi Ren and HCI's Wang Tingjia will represent Singapore at this weekend's South-east Asia Youth Athletics Championships in Thailand.

"This will definitely boost his confidence for the SEA Youths, so we hope that he can replicate or better his performance today," he added.

"At this stage, we are comparable to the Malaysians and Thais. But there might of course be some who will be throwing close to 60m, so that's where we are looking at.

"But, most importantly, we want to see that he is more consistent with his technique."

Tingjia was also in confident form, winning the B Boys' final earlier in the day.

The Secondary 4 student posted a personal best of 56.90m, smashing the competition's record of 53.26m set by HCI's Adriel Goh in 2007.

"It feels good to break the record; I have to thank the home support because they really boosted my confidence," the 15-year-old said.

"In training, my coach doesn't really allow me to throw far or make really long runs because it's easy to injure myself, so I will only try for a PB once a month.

"This result was 4m more than my PB, so I overachieved today."


  • A Boys' javelin final: 1 Tan Yi Ren (Raffles Junior College): 53.75m, 2 Justyn Phoa (Hwa Chong Institution): 50.40m, 3 Zhu Bolin (RJC): 46.97m.
  • B Boys' javelin final: 1 Wang Tingjia (HCI): 56.90m, 2 Ryan Teo (HCI): 50.68m, 3 Daniel Abdullah Harun (Singapore Sports School): 47m.
  • C Boys' javelin final: 1 Kynaston Wee (Raffles Institution): 47.44m, 2 Hur Young Gwan (Victoria School): 41.82m, 3 Charles Wang (Catholic High School): 36.40m.

Rio-bound Chen Feng started in a Jinzhou public gym

Chen's journey to the Olympics via S'pore started in a public gym in Liaoning

"It was like a dream." - Chen Feng (above) on his Olympic qualification

He pinched himself towards the end of the match against his teammate in the South-east Asia segment of the table tennis Asia Olympic qualifiers in Hong Kong last week.

And after Chen Feng beat Li Hu 4-2 (11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4) in the final to clinch an Olympic men's singles spot, he pinched himself again.

"It was like a dream," said the 22-year-old after training yesterday.

"In the sixth game I held quite a sizeable lead, but I was trying hard to focus because there was every chance that Li Hu could fight back."

The unfancied world No. 149 beat the likes of Thailand's Padasak Tanviriyavechakul and teammate Gao Ning, ranked 27th in the world, before defeating Li Hu for the Olympic spot.

Chen said: "Before the tournament, I thought I had a slim chance; my main opponents were my teammates and the Thai player.

"But, before we left for Hong Kong we had a meeting to discuss every player from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand... I train with my teammates every day and was familiar with their play, so I thought I still had a chance."

The Jinzhou native, who arrived in Singapore in 2010, had the toughest draw among the four Singaporeans - Yang Zi was also in action - and surprisingly found the 4-0 (11-2, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5) mauling of Gao in the semi-finals his most "relaxing" match.

"I didn't think I would beat him 4-0, but I was the most relaxed I ever was in Hong Kong against Gao Ning because I train with him every day and have even beaten him at the Kuwait Open a few years ago.

"Also, he wasn't playing too well that day, and I was playing very well in that match."


Men's national coach Liu Jiayi said: "I think the key to his success was that he had a strong desire (to play in the Olympics), and he had the goods to back it up.

"Before the competition, we drilled him in improving his basics, and he now has more initiative in attack."

Chen's journey to Rio began in a public gym in Jinzhou, a prefecture of China's Liaoning province, in 2000.

"I thought it looked fun and just started to play, while my parents chatted with their friends on the sidelines," he recalled.

He trained under the gym's coach for a year before moving on to a sports school.

Eighteen months later, he started training with the provincial team.

It was not too long after that that he broke into China's national youth team as one of the younger players in the squad.

But being years younger than the likes of China's world No. 3 Xu Xin meant that Chen was regularly losing to his teammates, even if he was among the top three in his batch of Liaoning youth paddlers.

He jumped at the chance to come to Singapore in 2010, and it was on these sunny shores that competing at the Olympics started becoming a possibility.

And while possibility has turned into reality, Chen is under no illusions about how his debut in Rio will turn out to be in August.

He acknowledged that he had loads to work on, but said: "I will fight in every match and gain all the experience I can, so that I can be more ready, along with Clarence (Chew), to lead the Singapore team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics."