STTA chief Lee to work with Liu for 2012 Games
Fri, Aug 29, 2008
The Straits Times

by Lin Xinyi

FOR THE past few days, table tennis head coach Liu Guodong cut a frustrated figure as his future seemed uncertain.

But, yesterday, Singapore Table Tennis Association president Lee Bee Wah revealed to The Straits Times that she is looking forward to working with Liu in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games.

"The Gao Ning case is still under review, but it should not take away from the result that has been achieved. We are going to discuss with Liu Guodong the renewal of his contract."

Despite leading the women's table tennis team to a silver - Singapore's first medal in 48 years, there were initial doubts over Liu's future. Ms Lee said last Sunday that Liu's fate would be decided by a coaching committee.

The uncertainty developed after the fiasco at the Beijing men's singles event, where Singapore No 1 Gao Ning found himself with no coach for his match and crashed out in the third round.

When asked about the latest news on Liu, she insisted that this was no change of heart on her part.

"I didn't change my mind," she said. "I didn't say that I would sack him.

"I said that there will be an investigation into Gao Ning's case, and those responsible for the incident will be dealt with by the coaching committee."

Although continuity is now expected in that department, there will be other changes made within the association.

Despite her hectic schedule yesterday with the media, including interviews on television programmes and The Straits Times, Ms Lee was moving quickly to ensure order in the house.

When it came to deciding who the women paddlers could speak to, she called all the shots. Previously, team manager Antony Lee was tasked with that job.

Ms Lee will also see to the men's players' request for a men's head coach. At present, Liu oversees both the men's and women's teams.

Question marks also surround the new role of a technical director. There has been speculation that former national player, coach and deputy team manager Loy Soo Han has been approached.

Loy is also the husband of former national paddler Jing Junhong.

According to sources, Jing could also return to the STTA. The 2000 Sydney Games singles semi-finalist has been linked with the position of team manager.

Neither Jing, Loy nor STTA president Lee would comment on any impending appointment.

Ms Lee, who had earlier indicated that there would also be a new CEO, said: "I don't know who will be brought on board and I can't give a date as to when the appointments will be made."

This article was first published in The Straits Times on August 27, 2008.


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