SINGAPORE: The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) wants its local born players to win medals at the Olympics, and has set an interim target for them to win gold medals at the 2015 SEA Games.
Singapore has relied on foreign born paddlers to deliver gold medals at the regional South East Asian Games since the mid—nineties.
However STTA is now looking to the sport’s long term development and wants its local players to step up.
"We would like to see them play in the 2013 SEA Games. By the 2015 SEA Games when it is held in Singapore, we would like to see them getting the gold medals. So as to prepare them for the Olympics, our ultimate aim is to see them featured in the Olympics and get medals for Singapore," said President of STTA Dr Lee Bee Wah.
That aim seems to be on track.
Local talent Pang Xue Jie partnered China—born Ma Liang to win an unexpected gold medal in the men’s doubles at the 2011 SEA Games.
Now STTA is hoping to replicate that regional success with young players like Clarence Chew and Isablle Li.
17—year—old Chew broke into the national team just a year ago and he’s game for the gold challenge.
"For the past few months I have been training full time with the national team and hopefully next year, I can get to go for more overseas competitions for more exposure and experience," he said.
The Sports School student is not ruling out the possibility of training full time to enhance his medal prospects closer to the 2015 SEA Games.
STTA says that besides the current crop of youngsters, it has also identified a few more young local born players who have the potential to represent the national team.
That is because of a comprehensive youth development programme put in place to identify players as young as 5 years old.
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