Singapore eye all table tennis golds at SEA Games
Fans will be able to watch Singapore's top paddlers in action when the South-east Asia (SEA) Games swings by next June.
The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) has fought hard to blood young talent with its big names like women's world No. 4 Feng Tianwei at recent SEA Games.
But speaking to The New Paper yesterday, STTA president Ellen Lee said there is every chance stars the likes of Feng and men's world No. 13 Gao Ning will serve up a frenzy next year at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
She said: "We want to send our best players and we have a reputation (as the top South-east Asian table tennis nation) to keep.
"Diplomatically speaking, we want to be able to accommodate both objectives of doing well and exposing our young talent.
"Definitely, we want to win (all the gold medals on offer)."
Lee was speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration of engineering giants Meinhardt Singapore at the Shangri-La Hotel.
To celebrate the milestone, Meinhardt Singapore committed a $100,000 sponsorship programme called the Meinhardt-STTA Scholarship scheme to enable STTA players to further their studies in any of the 40 countries where the company operates, with no bonds attached.
"This is a new initiative by Meinhardt to serve the community and country," said Omar Shahzad, group CEO of Meinhardt Group.
Lee revealed that the partnership was made possible through her predecessor Lee Bee Wah, who is now an STTA adviser.
She works for engineering firm LBW Consultants LLP, which was recently acquired by Meinhardt.
Said STTA chief Lee: "I'm very happy because it shows an act of good faith and commitment by Bee Wah.
"The Meinhardt-STTA Scholarship Award will encourage our athletes to focus entirely on training and competing, without having to worry about life after sports.
"We are still looking for another main sponsor to fill the space on the back on our athletes' jerseys.
"And with this new initiative, I hope that more businesses and corporations will follow Meinhardt's lead and step forward to support our athletes."
Meanwhile, Feng and world No. 11 Yu Mengyu are recovering well from their respective knee and back injuries, which kept them out of the Women's World Cup last month.
As part of the top-16 singles players and top-eight doubles pairings in the world, they will then take part in the Swedish Open (Nov 12-16) and compete at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Bangkok (Dec 11-14).