Clarence Chew becomes first Singapore-born male paddler to reach Olympic men's singles event
Clarence Chew will become the first Singapore-born paddler to represent the Republic at the Olympics, after defeating fellow countryman Koen Pang 4-0 (11-7, 11-7, 15-13, 11-4) in the South-east Asian final of the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Qatar on Saturday (March 20).
Chew, who had lost to Pang at the 2019 SEA Games final, turned the tables this time around to book his ticket to the Tokyo Games from July 23 to Aug 8, joining the women's table tennis team of Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye.
A jubilant Chew said: "This is my lifelong dream to qualify for the Olympics as a representative of Singapore. No words can describe what I am feeling right now. This achievement tells me that I can do absolutely anything so long as I am willing to work hard for it. I am so looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics and I promise I will make Singapore proud.”
Head coach Gao Ning, who represented Singapore at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics, is proud of Chew, 25, and Pang, 18, for making this far.
He said: “Both athletes have worked so hard to be here and as a coach, it was the best feeling in the world to be able to see the results of this effort. This incredible accomplishment by Clarence is a dream come true for me. Now, (what) we need to do is to focus and continue this success into the Tokyo Olympics.’’
Also beaming with pride was Singapore Table Tennis Association president Ellen Lee, who said: "We are so proud of Clarence's achievement. We are so happy for Clarence and his family and all who have played a part in his journey. This is indeed an extraordinary feat."
"Clarence’s achievement is an inspiration to us all. I hope this will spur many of the younger generation of players to dream big and achieve their dreams.’’