Singapore's young paddlers win two of four team events
Singapore's young paddlers won two of the four team events at the South-east Asian Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships at Toa Payoh Sports Hall yesterday.
The junior girls' team retained their title after coming from behind to clinch a 3-1 win over arch-rivals Malaysia. The cadet boys' team also successfully defended their crown with a 3-0 win over Malaysia in the final.
However, the junior boys' team had to settle for silver after a 3-0 defeat by Thailand, while the cadet girls' team finished fourth.
At last year's event in Cambodia, Singapore made a clean sweep of all four team titles.
In the junior girls' final yesterday, Singapore's Zhang Wanling suffered a 3-2 loss to Malaysia's Alice Chang in the first game. But, teammate Zermaine Lew saved the day, defeating Tee Ai Xin 3-0 and later avenging Wanling's loss with a 3-0 victory over Alice.
Wong Xinru also notched one point for Singapore with a 3-1 win over Tey Ka Ying.
Zermaine, 17, said: "I didn't focus much on winning or losing, I just focused on my own game."
The mood in the junior boys' team was in stark contrast to their female counterparts though.
National paddler Ethan Poh said they will bounce back from this setback.
Said the 18-year-old: "I think we (including Beh Kun Ting and Lucas Tan) weren't able to adjust to the situation.
"But, it's not the end for us, we will learn from our mistakes and take (those lessons) to the individual events."
The junior boys' coach Zhang Zhen said that the pressure of their title defence got to them.
He said: "They put a lot of pressure on themselves... In the singles events to come, they must learn to adjust their emotional state."
Both Singapore's junior girls' and boys' teams qualified for the Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship, which starts in South Korea later this month.