Singapore's table tennis teams exit at quarter-final stage
S'pore paddlers crash out to Koreans at Asian C'ships
Both the national men's and women's table tennis team had their dreams of winning medals at the Asian Table Tennis Championships crushed by South Koreans in Pattaya, Thailand, yesterday.
World No. 7 Feng Tianwei left it too little too late in her match against world No. 12 Seo Hyowon, who prevented a remarkable comeback in the last game with a wondrous winner off Feng's fierce smash with the score at 7-7.
Seo's 3-2 (12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-8) victory helped South Korea win the quarter-finals 3-1 overall, after she had also seen off world No. 29 Yu Mengyu 3-1 (6-11, 15-13, 13-11, 12-10) despite the Singaporean reaching game-point first in all four games.
Feng (left) was the only Singaporean to pick up a point as she beat world No. 13 Yang Haeun 3-2 (11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6), while 18-year-old, world No. 447 Yee Herng Hwee's first match in a major tournament ended in a defeat by Lee Zion (11-6, 11-7, 11-9).
The result meant that the national women's paddlers failed to retain the bronze medal they won two years ago in Busan, South Korea.
National women's table tennis coach Jing Junhong told The New Paper: "Our players actually performed quite well and I think there was actually very little between both sets of players.
"So in even match-ups like these, it all depends on who are able to raise their game on match day, and they were the Koreans.
"We lost by narrow margins, the result of too many unforced errors. We will try our best to finish as high as possible in the fifth-to-eighth placing matches before we take on the individual events."
In the men's team competition, Singapore fell 3-0 to South Korea.
World No. 14 Jung Youngsik beat world No. 19 Gao Ning 3-0 (11-9, 11-3, 11-6), world No. 16 Joo Saehyuk beat world No. 159 Yang Zi 3-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-6), before world No. 20 Lee Sangsu sealed victory with a 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-5) win over world No. 204 Clarence Chew.
National men's table tennis coach Yang Chuanning said: "I would say our players performed up to expectations and the Koreans were simply of a better standard and played more freely.
"Like the women's team, we will now head into the placing matches tomorrow, and we will give it our best shot to finish as high as possible.
"I cannot say we are confident of retaining the bronze Gao Ning and Yang Zi won in the men's doubles competition two years ago, but we will definitely go all out for it."
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Tighter security mooted for next year's Singapore GP
Singapore Grand Prix organisers are considering tighter security for next year's race, with higher fences and more marshals, after a man intruded on to the track during last weekend's Formula 1 event.
The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement yesterday that they had received a report from Gabriel Tan, the clerk of the course at the floodlit Singapore race.
It welcomed recommendations made by Tan, who established that the 27-year-old British intruder gained access to the track after climbing a 1.1 metre high security fence to reach a protected marshal zone.
"The Singapore GP organisation is studying plans to increase security in identified areas," the FIA statement said.
"In the affected area where the intrusion occurred, it is considering plans for the installation of higher spectator fences.
"A substantial increase in the number of marshals in attendance at the event is also being evaluated. These marshals would work hand-in-hand with the security personnel in spectator areas."
The report found that the intruder, identified in court documents as Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia, entered the circuit via a designated Egress Point - a horizontal slot allowing personnel access to the track - on the Esplanade Bridge.
It said he had taken less than 10 seconds to slide through the opening and onto the track.
"The 1.1 metre fence in question is of a similar height to fencing used at a number of other F1 events," the FIA said.
Dhokia crossed the track and walked against the flow of traffic before exiting via another Egress Point where he was apprehended by marshals and handed over to police.
The report said roughly half the Egress Points around the circuit were manned by race officials, in common with most other tracks, with the remaining areas and security fences patrolled by security personnel.
Dhokia has been charged with committing an "act so rashly as to endanger the personal safety of the drivers involved in the race... by crossing the race track while the race is on-going".
He faces a possible jail sentence of up to six months and/or a maximum fine of $2,500.
Local media reported that Dhokia, whose passport was confiscated, had been offered bail of $15,000 but told the court he could not pay it.