Cambodia's Lim Sok Long takes on Singapore's Gao Ning. Singapore beat Cambodia 3-0. Photo: SINGSOC/Action Images via Reuters
Defending table tennis champions Singapore kicked off their campaign with the Women’s Doubles matches held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium (SIS). The quarterfinals saw Feng Tian Wei and Yu Mengyu clinching a hard-fought 3-0 victory over Orawan Paranang and Tamolwan Khetkhuan from Thailand, while Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan overcame Malaysians Ng Sock Khim and Angeline Tang with a similar score line. The men were not to be outdone – Singapore’s Gao Ning and Li Hu trashed Maulana Gilang and Haruri Akhmad Dahlan of Indonesia, while Chen Feng and Clarence Chew upstaged Richard Gonzales and Rodel Irineo Valle from the Philippines.
However, victory did not come easy to us. In the exciting Thailand–Singapore Women’s Doubles face-off, Feng and Yu were tested by the young 17-year-old Thai pair, where the second game was pushed to a deuce. But the Singaporean duo demonstrated their experience and level-headedness in the next points, and worked together to emerge as the winner in the third game, closing the match. Over at the Men’s Doubles, Chen and Chew were off to a slow start, dropping the first game to the Philippines team, before achieving three consecutive wins.
The evening matches began with the Men’s Singles matches, with Gao Ning taking home his game against Cambodia’s Lim Sok Long with a score of 3-0. In the Mixed Doubles, both Singapore pairings Zhou Yihan–Li Hu and Yu Mengyu–Yang Zi were victorious against rivals Lat Thet Ko Ko–San Khin Kaung and Tun Myo Min–Pyone Aye Thida from Myanmar.
The table tennis semifinals will be held tomorrow, with both the Women’s Doubles and Men’s Doubles champions to be decided.
Meet the Athlete: Chaisit Chaitat
When we spotted Thai paddler Chaisit Chaitat, he was at the back of the spectator stands, having a quiet moment to himself before his match. Nervously, we (as first-time content producers) approached him for an interview. And to our delight, he graciously agreed to chat with us!
Besides being a national team player, Chaisit is also a soldier in Thailand. He shared that he is a table tennis player in his domestic competitions, representing the army. Taking a break from his full-time job, Chaisit has been training continuously with his 11 other team members, at least four days a week in the lead-up to the SEA Games.
This is the third time Chaisit has been in Singapore for tournaments – “it’s a nice city,” he praised. Due to his hectic schedule, he was unable to interact much with the locals and explore the country. When we asked Chaisit about his post-SEA Games plans, he quipped, “Maybe [we’ll get to] travel around.”
Cool and composed, Chaisit Chaitat posing for a shot at the warm up area. Photo: Randi Ang and Loy Kheng Wee, Volunteer Crew