STTA boost for Feng Tianwei
Paddler can continue to represent Singapore subject to association's selection policies
She has been dropped by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), but the national sports association will not sideline Feng Tianwei from continuing to represent the Republic in competitions.
This was confirmed by the STTA in a press release issued last night.
The NSA confirmed its support for the current world No. 5 in her bid to continue playing on the ITTF World Tour circuit and as a Team Singapore athlete.
For world tour events, it will be subject to specific terms and conditions being met by both parties, while STTA selection policies will dictate Feng's bid to play at major Games like the Olympics, World Championships and the 2017 South-east Asia Games, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur.
The STTA will reveal the selection policies soon.
Said Feng: "I am happy to have the opportunity to continue representing Singapore. And I thank the STTA and the HPS (High Performance Sports) Steering Committee for their support."
Feng is Singapore's most bemedalled Olympian.
She was part of the women's team that won silver and bronze at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, where she also finished third in the singles event.
She was also a key figure in the team that sent shockwaves round the world when they defeated China in the 2010 World Championships.
But, at this year's Olympics in Rio, Feng was far from her best as the Singapore table tennis women finished fourth in the team event, while she was knocked out in the quarter-finals in the singles.
Two weeks ago, the STTA made the shock announcement that Feng, 30, will no longer be part of its women's team, citing its intent to groom younger paddlers for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
While she will still not be part of STTA's training programme, the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) yesterday backed the extension of Feng's spexScholarship.
The Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) provides an enhanced level of support for athletes within the HPS pathway.
It is governed by the HPS Steering Committee.
Feng's current scholarship tenure ends on Dec 31 and Toh Boon Yi, chief of the Singapore Sports Institute, said: "Feng Tianwei has satisfied conditions of the spexScholarship programme.
"For the scholarship to continue, it was dependant on the ability for her to continue playing at the highest levels of the sport and be in fair consideration for selection to represent Singapore."