Thursday, October 21, 2010

No chance of a medal in highly competitive table tennis event

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Table tennis. T...Image via Wikipedia

VENUE: Guangzhou Gymnasium
EVENTS: Men and women team, singles, doubles and mixed doubles
MEN: Mohd Shakirin Ibrahim
WOMEN: Beh Lee Wei, Ng Sock Khim, Chiu Soo Jiin
MANAGER: Han Kee Juan
COACH: Soong Poh Wah
THE Malaysian women’s table tennis team created history by winning the first ever medal in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games recently.
Beh Lee Wei, Ng Sock Khim and Chiu Soo Jiin chalked up a hard fought 3-2 win over England to bag the team bronze medal.
But the trio, and men’s national player Mohd Shakirin Ibrahim, will be heading for the Asian Games next month knowing they stand no chance at all of winning a medal in Guangzhou, China.
Malaysian paddlers will be featuring in the Asiad for the first time after a lapse of 32 years.
The standard in the Asian Games is very much higher compared to the Commonwealth Games and powerhouse China are expected to make a clean sweep of the seven gold medals at stake.
Even countries like North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have far superior paddlers than Malaysia, who last featured in the Games way back in 1978 in Bangkok.
For the record, Malaysia have never won a single medal in the Asiad.
National coach Soong Poh Wah, who featured in the 1966 Games, admitted that the national players have a very slim chance to be on the podium.
“The standard in the Asian Games is very high and there is no way our players can win a medal. We are sending them to Guangzhou for exposure,” said Poh Wah.
He explained that the Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) did not take part in the last eight Asian Games because the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) decided to send national paddlers under Category B.
“We (TTAM) were not willing to bear the expenses of the players under Category B as we felt it would be a waste of money,” said Poh Wah.
“It was better to use the money to compete in other competitions where we stood a chance to win medals.”
However, this time TTAM decided to send the players to Asiad “because OCM were kind enough to allow one man and one woman paddler to compete under Category A”.
“So we decided to send two more women players under Category B for winning the bronze medal in the team event,” said Poh Wah.
The 27-year-old Lee Wei, who has been representing Malaysia for 11 years, said she never thought that she would get a chance to feature in the Asiad.
“I know that winning a medal is out of my reach but I am looking forward to playing against world class players. I will not only play in the team event but will also compete in the singles and mixed doubles with Shakirin,” said Lee Wei.
Besides playing in the singles and team events, Sock Khim and Soo Jiin will also feature in the doubles.

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