National paddler hopes Olympic success will spark greater interest in Table Tennis
Singapore, 1 October 2012 - Fresh from clinching a double bronze in table tennis at this year’s London Olympic Games, Singapore has already started grooming the next generation of table tennis starlets. Students from Ai Tong Primary School were given the rare chance to spar with Team Singapore’s Olympic paddlers Feng Tian Wei and Li Jiawei last Wednesday and the experience left an indelible mark on Singapore’s national paddlers.
Feng Tian Wei, Singapore’s most bemedalled Olympian, was clearly impressed by the skills showcased by the young but talented paddlers from Ai Tong.
"Seeing these kids make me think about myself when I was one. But I started at 5, which is much younger than their age now. To see so much energy and interest, it's unexpected. Even their basics have been grasped pretty well,” she enthused.
When asked if her recent successes in the international arena have sparked greater interest in table tennis locally, the ever modest Feng was shy to admit but remains optimistic that the achievements of the national team can help to create greater interest in the sport.
“When I first came to Singapore, there weren't many kids playing table tennis. Seeing so many of them today here really heartens me,” she said.
Feng and Li’s visit to the Bright Hill Drive campus is part of Team Singapore’s efforts to spread the Olympic message of peace, unity and friendship to the younger generation as the athletes look to share their competing experiences and impart their skills to take the sport to the next level.
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah, President of the STTA, is hopeful that Feng and Li will inspire the next generation of table tennis superstars. She said: "I hope that, in 10 years' time, we can see some of these young kids donning the Singapore national jersey and standing on the podium."
The morning ended with an up close and personal session over breakfast for 40 lucky students who had the opportunity to listen and share in the personal experiences and life stories of Singapore’s Olympians.