Team Singapore’s women’s table tennis trio were unable to secure bronze medal at the Rio Olympics after losing 3-1 to Japan in the battle for third place.
Having been beaten by defending champions China, who are strong favourites in the gold medal game where they will face Germany, Team Singapore were hoping to secure a third straight medal finish after their silver in Beijing 2008 and bronze in London 2012.
TeamSG paddler Zhou Yihan (right) and Yu Mengyu (left) in the doubles event of the Women's Team match. Photo: Sport Singapore
But Japan produced an inspired display at Riocentro 3 with their outstanding 15-year-old talent Mima Ito wrapping up the win in the third singles contest where she beat Feng Tianwei.
Backed by a large and vocal Japanese support in the crowd, the trio of Ito, Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa played with verve and control and although Team Singapore stuck at the task well, there could be no dispute over the outcome.
The contest began promisingly for Team Singapore with Yu Mengyu, looking sharp and aggressive, beating the experienced world number eight, Ai Fukuhara 4-11, 11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-5 in the first singles encounter.
TeamSG paddler Feng Tianwei in action in the Women's Team Bronze Medal Match. Photo: Sport Singapore
Team Singapore captain Feng Tianwei was unable to maintain that early momentum though as she fell 10-12, 6-11, 7-11 to the impressive Ishikawa.
Yu teamed up with Zhou Yihan in the doubles match, but after a competitive and close opening to the contest, they fell 9-11, 11-9, 11-1, 14-12 to Fukuhara and Ito.
It fell to Feng to keep Team Singapore in the contest but playing Ito, one of the most highly-rated young talents in international table tennis, she suffered a 9-11, 4-11, 6-11 reverse.
Captain Feng took responsibility for the defeat. “The team did well but I wasn’t able to do my part and I am very disappointed about that,” she told reporters.
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