Olympics: Yu Mengyu misses out on bronze but pleased with run
She has no regrets, despite losing bronze-medal match to Japan's world No. 2 Ito
One could not see her face behind the mask, but at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium media mixed zone, Singaporean paddler Yu Mengyu's eyes were smiling.
The 31-year-old had just been beaten to the bronze medal after losing 4-1 (6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6) to Japan's world No. 2 Mima Ito in the women's singles last night.
But she was happy to have accomplished what she set out to do, which was to have no regrets on court.
The world No. 47 said: "At the twilight of my career, I just want to be accountable to myself, for all that I have put into this journey.
"Before the tournament, I did not think about results, targets or even who I could meet down the line. But, taking in every match I went through to get to this point, I think I have done well.
"Maybe there were a lot of expectations on me after I made the final four because they think I'm so close to a medal, and maybe I allowed myself to believe that too."
"I also wanted to deliver a medal to celebrate National Day and, while it's a shame I couldn't do so, I did give my best and I have no regrets," added Yu, who had previously hinted that the Tokyo Games could be her swansong.
Yu had raised hopes of another upset - she had beaten Chinese Taipei's world No. 8 Cheng I-ching and Japan's world No. 10 Kasumi Ishikawa en route to the final four - after claiming the first game against Ito.
There were also no signs of the thigh injury she suffered during her second-round win over Portugal's Shao Jieni and aggravated during the morning's semi-final whitewash by China's world No. 1 Chen Meng.
But Ito, already a mixed doubles champion at Tokyo 2020, displayed not just an intricate set-up to her serves, but also a vast array of high-quality shots to extend her head-to-head lead over Yu to 8-1.
Yu said: "The thigh injury did not affect me at all in this match after a good recovery and video analysis session in the afternoon.
"I felt I played well, but maybe did not handle the crucial points as well as my opponent. When I was leading or when the scores were level, she was more decisive. The scores could have been closer if I had added a bit more variety to my shot selection."
The Rio 2016 women's singles quarter-finalist has been plagued by a bad back that left her in a wheelchair as recently as March, and thanked the Singapore Table Tennis Association and the Singapore Sport Institute for their support and help in managing the injury.
She added: "Without them, I would not have been able to stand and perform on this beautiful stage.
"I also deeply appreciate all the support of Singaporeans. I received many messages, and while I haven't been able to reply them all, I have read them and I'm grateful."
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong was among those who posted messages of support.
He wrote on Facebook that although it's a missed opportunity to win a medal, "but we remain proud, not only of how far Mengyu has gone... but especially because she didn't give up."
For Singaporeans Yu, Feng Tianwei and Lin Ye, the focus will now turn to the women's team event. They play France in the opening round on Monday and could meet China in the quarter-finals.
It is another tall order, but trust the fighter in Yu to give it her all. She said: "We will try our best, and I hope my results can be a confidence booster to my teammates for the team event."
Singaporeans in action at Tokyo 2020
Yu Mengyu (women's singles)
- semi-finals: lost 4-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6) to Chen Meng of China
- bronze medal play-off: lost 4-1 (6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6) to Mima Ito of Japan
Ryan Lo (men's laser, races 7-8) - 22nd out of 35 after 8 races (134 pts)
Amanda Ng (women's windsurfer RS:X, races 10-12) - 26th out of 27 after 12 races. Out of medal race
Quah Zheng Wen (men's 100m butterfly, Heat 4) - Finished fourth out of seven swimmers in 52.39sec. Out of semi-finals
Joseph Schooling (men's 100m butterfly, Heat 5) - Finished last out of eight swimmers in 53.12sec. Out of semi-finals
Joan Poh (women's single sculls, Finals E) - 7.15am
Ryan Lo (men's laser, races 9-10) - 1.35pm
Kimberly Lim & Cecilia Low (women's 49er FX, races 7-9) - 1.50pm
Quah Ting Wen (women's 50m freestyle, Heat 8) - 6.31pm
Kimberly Lim & Cecilia Low (women's 49er FX, races 10-12) - Time TBC
Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu & Lin Ye v France (women's team, opening round) - 9am
*Catch the action on MediaCorp meWatch, Ch 5, Singtel TV Ch 23/26/28/29/32/34 and StarHub TV Ch251/254/256/257/260/262. All in S'pore time. Schedule subject to change.