Chan pins hopes on paddlers

The form of Singapore's top female paddlers has ranged from erratic to poor this year, but Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) secretary general Chris Chan is cautiously optimistic about the team's medal chances at next month's London Games.

Speaking after he announced the list of Singapore athletes bound for the London Olympics, Chan said: "There is always a chance that Singapore can be there on the podium.

"We are always in contention since we finished second recently at the world championships.

Different

"Although their (women's team) form doesn't look so good on paper now, in the competition arena it can be different."

The trio of Feng Tianwei, Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu clinched the women's team silver at the Beijing Games in 2008, ending a 48-year wait for Singapore's second Olympic medal, after weightlifter Tan Howe Liang's silver in Rome in 1960.

The all-conquering China won all the medals in both the singles events in Beijing, but a rule change by the International Table Tennis Federation ensures the sport's juggernaut will not enjoy a clean sweep in the individual events in London.

The new rule limits each country to a maximum of two entries per singles event.

The Singapore Table Tennis Association is aiming for two medals this year - one in the women's team event and the other in the women's singles.

But Feng and Co have struggled over the last few months.

Feng is no longer the Republic's top player after dropping to world No. 10 this month, down five places from the start of the year.

Japan have also edged ahead of Singapore, ranked second in the team rankings behind China.

The team rankings are vital in the Olympic seedings as the top two will avoid each other until the final.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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