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By Averlynn Lim
Ever since the 1958 Summer Olympic Games, Singapore has been sending its athletes to compete at the Olympic Games. To date, athletes from Singapore have won a total of 4 medals at the Olympics, with three of them coming from table tennis.
Singapore's bronze medalists at the 2012 London Olympic Games (Photo credit: AFP)
Overview of Singapore's Table Tennis Olympic medal winners
- 2008, Silver - Feng Tianwei, Li Jiawei, Wang Yuegu (Women's Team)
- 2012, Bronze - Feng Tianwei (Women's Singles)
- 2012, Bronze - Feng Tianwei, Li Jiawei, Wang Yuegu (Women's Team)
It is also worth mentioning that Jing Jun Hong and Li Jiawei have come close to winning Olympic medals by coming in 4th place at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004 Athens Olympic Games respectively.
Player Spotlight: Jing Junhong
Jing Junhong is a retired professional table tennis player who had represented the Singapore national team in sporting events since the 1980s. In the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, she attained fourth place in the women’s singles. This 4th placing also resulted in her third Sportswomen of the Year title. Her third Olympic appearance in the 2004 Games in Athens saw her reaching the third round. She is widely regarded as one of the most successful from the first generation of Singapore's paddlers, and is currently the head coach for the Team Singapore women's table tennis team.
Player Spotlight: Li Jia Wei, Feng Tian Wei and Yang Yuegu
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, three other star players of Singapore in Li Jiawei, Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu represented Singapore for the women's team event. They beat South Korea with a score of 3-2 in the semi-finals, securing a silver medal for Singapore.
Winning this medal was a historic moment because it was the first medal won by Singapore since the country's independence in 1965. It signified the end of Singapore’s Olympic medal drought which was last won in 1960 by Tan Howe Liang in Weightlifting.
Singapore's Feng Tianwei after beating Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa to take home the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics (Image credit: Mugilan Rajasegeran/Straits Times)
Feng Tianwei was the youngest among the team and contributed significantly to Singapore’s win by defeating Dang Ye-Seo and Park Mi-Young in two singles matches.
In the following 2012 London Olympics, Feng Tianwei beat Kasumi Ishikawa from Japan with a score of 4-0 in the Table Tennis Women’s Singles Bronze Medal Match. This victory gave Singapore her first individual Olympic medal in a long 52 years. It also made Feng Tianwei only the second Singaporean to win an individual Olympic medal.
When interviewed after her win, Feng said: “I'm really happy, although I feel it's come a little too suddenly. My form wasn't very good lately, so I didn't dare to carry too much expectations coming into the London Olympics. It was just a relief to win.”
During these same Olympic Games, Li Jiawei together with fellow players Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu claimed a 3-0 victory over the South Korea team in the Women’s Team Bronze Medal Match.
The two bronze medals won by the Singapore team during the 2012 London Olympics marks the first time Singapore has won more than one medal in a single Olympic and it is definitely something to applaud.
In the wake of the retirement of legendary players like Jing Junhong and Li Jiawei, Singapore now looks towards its new stars, the biggest local born future star being Isabelle Li.
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