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Road to Glasgow: Singapore's Men’s Table Tennis players gear up

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Team Singapore Table Tennis Team - Pang Xue Jie, Zhan Jian, Chen Feng, Li Hu, Clarence Chew. Photo by Aundrey Gan.The Team Singapore Table Tennis Team posing with the Gold medals from the 27th SEA Games. From Left: Pang Xue Jie, Zhan Jian, Chen Feng, Li Hu, Clarence Chew. (Photo by Aundrey Gan)

Team Singapore paddlers Clarence Chew Zhe Yu and Zhan Jian will be representing Singapore in the upcoming Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games which will be happening from 23 July to 3 August.

For both players, their journey into table tennis began at a young age.

“Both my parents play table tennis. When I was young, I would follow them to their games to watch and learn. That was how I got started,” shared Clarence who bagged a Bronze medal in the Men’s Singles at the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar last year.

When he was in primary school, Zhan Jian made the choice to specialize in table tennis as he felt it was a good fit for him. A good choice that certainly was! Aside from his 27th SEA Games Men’s Team Gold and championship titles from the 2013 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships for the Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles and Men’s Team events, Zhan Jian finished Top 8 in the 2012 Olympic Games in the Men’s Team category.

The 31-year-old will be working even harder as he aims to fulfill his dreams of clinching a medal at the Olympics for Singapore.

Team Singapore Table Tennis player Zhan Jian at the 27th SEA Games 2013. Photo by Andrew JK TanTeam Singapore Table Tennis player Zhan Jian at the 27th SEA Games 2013. (Photo by Andrew JK Tan)

Zhan Jian shared, “I feel honoured to be able to share the glory of my sporting career with my fellow Singaporeans. It reminds me that there is always someone back home supporting us (team). That is why I am always motivated to progress further.”

Support from home is definitely something that our Team Singapore athletes will need in their upcoming endeavour.

Team Singapore Table Tennis player Clarence Chew at the 27th SEA Games 2013. Photo by John Yeong.Team Singapore Table Tennis player Clarence Chew at the 27th SEA Games 2013. (Photo by John Yeong)

19-year-old Clarence who is currently studying at Republic Polytechnic said, “Knowing that the whole nation is rallying behind me boosts my morale. It gives me added motivation and confidence to do well and bring glory to my country. One of the most unforgettable moments in my sporting career took place during the Youth Olympic Games in 2010. There were so many people at the stadium cheering and rooting for me. That feeling was amazing and indescribable.”

Apart from table tennis, the two paddlers have a common interest in something most Singaporean – food.

When quizzed about the one thing he must do upon returning home from overseas training or competition, Clarence mentions visiting the hawker centres to satisfy his craving for local food. In fact, he cites oyster omelette as his favourite local dish because he likes seafood and the crispy texture of the omelette.

Zhan Jian chimed in, citing that chilli crabs with fried buns is his favourite dish. But unlike Clarence, he prefers to recharge as much as he can whenever he returns from overseas trainings and competitions. After all, being an athlete is hard work and whatever much needed rest is definitely well-deserved.

Clarence will be representing Singapore in the Men’s Team while Zhan Jian will compete in the Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Men’s Team in the upcoming Commonwealth Games. For both of them, this will be their first time participating in the Commonwealth Games.

Stay tune for the next instalment, where we present to you our Team Singapore Women’s paddlers, Isabelle Li and Lin Ye.

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