Feng gets tricky draw in Olympic qualifiers
Singapore's top paddler Feng Tianwei yesterday was handed a tricky draw in the South-east Asia stage of the continental Olympic qualifiers in Hong Kong.
The world No. 7, who was given a bye into the Round of 16, will meet Thailand's Nanthana Komwong in the quarter-finals.
A victory over the Thai paddler could see the 29-year-old take on reigning South-east Asia (SEA) Games women's singles champion Suthasini Sawettabut of Thailand in the semi-finals.
Suthasini had beaten Feng 3-1 in a group-stage tie in the SEA Games here last year, en route to claiming the gold medal.
In the other half of the draw, Yu Mengyu and Zhou Yihan have been given byes in the first round, while Lin Ye will face Indonesia's Nilasari Jusma today.
Women's national coach Chen Zhibin said: "The draw is pretty normal for us; Tianwei, being drawn against players from other countries in the top half of the draw, will be under more pressure.
"But she beat Suthasini in Qatar this year, which has raised her confidence, and we have analysed videos of the two Thais, and prepared well.
"As for the other three Singaporeans in the bottom half of the draw, I believe we will have an all-Singapore semi-final there."
In the men's draw, Gao Ning and Li Hu have been given byes in the first round today, while Chen Feng will face Malaysia's Leong Chee Feng, and Yang Zi will go up against the Philippines' Jann Mari Nayre.
Men's national coach Liu Jiayi said: "The draw was not what we had expected, but it's okay.
Of the four players, Chen Feng's draw is slightly trickier because his potential quarter-final opponent, Padasak Tanviriyavechakul of Thailand, is a left-hander and had previously beaten the Singaporean.
"But all four of them are in quite good form right now and there is a chance that all four will make it to the semi-finals."
Countries will send a maximum of two players to the second stage of the Asian series, where players from 44 countries come together in one competition, with six Olympic spots up for grabs.