Zhou earns nod for RIo
Paddler will make Olympics debut alongside Feng and Yu
National paddler Zhou Yihan was over the moon yesterday when she was among 21 athletes endorsed by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro from Aug 5 to 21.
The 22-year-old earned the nod over teammate Lin Ye to represent Singapore in the women's team event.
The other two players are Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu, who will play singles in the team event while Zhou will partner one of them for the doubles.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, the women's team won a bronze medal.
Feng and Yu will also compete in the women's singles event, having qualified for the Rio Olympics through the ITTF-Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament and world rankings respectively.
"I am so happy that I have been selected to represent Singapore. It has always been my childhood dream," said Zhou, who came to Singapore in 2010 and was granted citizenship in 2013.
"As an athlete, I will definitely face pressure, but I will do my utmost best.
"Hopefully, I will be able to perform my best at the Olympics."
The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) explained why it picked Zhou for the team event.
"Zhou has been selected by the STTA selection committee to be the third player in the team event," said STTA chief executive officer Wong Hui Leng yesterday.
"Zhou was selected based on the following factors: May 2016 ITTF Olympics singles ranking (50th), her technical ability, results in doubles and technical ability against different playing styles."
Yesterday, the SNOC announced the 21-strong list from six sports who will be flying the Singapore flag at the Rio Games. Thirteen of them will be making their Olympics bow.
The athletes earned quota spots through their respective sports' Olympic qualification process.
MORE TO COME
The selection committee, helmed by Minister for Social and Family Development and SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin, also gave in-principle endorsement to athletes who were still awaiting confirmation or an invite from their respective international federations.
At least three more - two from athletics and one from swimming - are expected to join the contingent.
That will raise the number to 24, one more than the 23 who took part in the 2012 London Games.
"More than half of the contingent will make their debuts and there are also seasoned campaigners who are participating in their second or third Olympic Games," said SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan yesterday. "We look forward to a positive outing in Rio."
Singapore will be represented by one male and one female athlete from athletics should no one qualify as per the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) universality places policy.
Female marathoner Neo Jie Shi met the IAAF's Olympic Qualifying Standard by being among the top 10 finishers at a Gold Label event.
The 30-year-old placed 10th during last December's Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore but will have to wait until next month to receive confirmation from the IAAF. No male track and field athlete has qualified for Rio.
The same applies to swimming where National Olympic Committees (NOCs) that do not have a qualified swimmer from either gender may enter one swimmer to participate in one event, subject to the eligibility criteria laid out by governing body Fina.
Male swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen have booked their spots in Brazil after meeting "A" qualifying times, but no female swimmer has made the "A" cut yet.
"We are excited counting down to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The support teams have been working hard behind the scenes to help the athletes prepare for the Games," said chef de mission Low Teo Ping.
"Sports such as swimming, sailing and shooting have done well in qualification, setting a record number of athletes qualifying on merit for these sports. We look forward to flying the Singapore flag high in Rio."
They are off to Rio
- Men's singles: Derek Wong
- Women's singles: Liang Xiaoyu
- Women's single sculls: Saiyidah Aisyah
- Laser: Colin Cheng
- Laser Radial: Elizabeth Yin
- Nacra 17: Justin Liu and Denise Lim
- 470: Jovina Choo and Amanda Ng
- 49er FX: Griselda Khng and Sara Tan
- Windsurfing RS:X: Leonard Ong
- Women's 50m rifle 3 Positions & 10m air rifle: Jasmine Ser
- Women's 25m pistol & 10m air pistol: Teo Shun Xie
- 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m butterfly: Joseph Schooling
- 100m backstroke, 100m and 200m butterfly: Quah Zheng Wen
- Men's singles: Gao Ning and Chen Feng
- Women's singles: Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu
- Women's Team: Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Zhou Yihan.