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SINGAPORE – The national men’s table tennis team were crowned joint-champions with Kazakhstan of the second tier of the Asian Table Tennis Championships in Qatar, Doha.
The two teams had been scheduled to play in the final on Friday (Oct 1) but the match was cancelled as the two teams had met the day before in a main-draw match to determine the fifth- to eighth-placed teams.
Singapore then progressed to the fifth-place play-off but eventually finished sixth after losing 3-0 to Iran on Friday.
World No. 391 Josh Chua lost 11-8, 11-8, 11-3 to 74th-ranked Noshad Alamiyan, before SEA Games singles champion Koen Pang fell to Nima Alamian 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8.
Iran then sealed their victory through Amir Hossein Hodaei’s 11-3, 11-7, 12-10 victory over Lucas Tan.
Still, national men’s coach Gao Ning was pleased with the team’s performance as they improved on their previous eighth-placed finish in 2019.
He said: “Everyone showed good standards and all five players (Chua, Pang, Tan, Clarence Chew and Beh Kun Ting) played and got very good training. It was the result of everyone’s joint effort.
“Kazakhstan has one player who’s quite good but in the end, we won 3-2. Everyone played their part and worked hard together to win.
“Moving on the singles, I hope everyone can maintain their current good condition and show what they are capable of.”
World No. 180 Chew said while finishing sixth was not easy, the result gives the team confidence that they can compete and be among the best teams in Asia.
He added: “It was a creditable achievement for our young team as there were difficult opponents we had to overcome but overall each of us managed to put in good performances to help achieve this final result.
“We have all managed to put on good performances despite many of us not competing internationally for quite some time and will continue to work hard to achieve better results.”
Pang and Lin Ye were also in action in the mixed doubles on Friday, progressing to the quarter-finals after a 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 victory over Japanese pair Yuto Kizukuri and Minami Ando.
They later lost 15-13, 11-3, 5-11, 11-5 to South Koreans Jang Woo-jin and Jeon Ji-hee.
Meanwhile in the women’s singles, Zhou Jingyi, Lin and Zhang Wan Ling progressed to the second round, joining Goi Rui Xuan and Wong Xin Ru who each received a bye.
Zhou, 16, beat Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Lavrova 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 while world No. 61 Lin had to work for her 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-2 victory over Iran’s Mahshid Ashtari.
Zhang also recorded a 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 win over Anel Bakhyt of Kazakhstan.
The women’s team retained their bronze on Thursday after losing 3-0 to South Korea in the semi-finals. Japan won the title.
The Singaporeans also will also feature in the doubles tournament at the Asian Championships, which end on Oct 5.
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MCI (P) 031/10/2021, MCI (P) 032/10/2021. Published by SPH Media Limited, Co. Regn. No. 202120748H. Copyright © 2021 SPH Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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