Wang hits out at German umpire

She was her usual animated self after her women's singles quarter-final match against Kasumi Ishikawa on Tuesday at the ExCeL Arena.

Wang Yuegu, who lost 4-1 (11-8, 5-11, 4-11, 8-11, 4-11) to the Japanese world No. 6, said she had played well, but Ishikawa was "simply too fast".

And then she vented her fury.

The 32-year-old world No. 11 became visibly agitated when she slammed the umpire in her match.

"As soon as I saw that I had a German umpire, I knew I was going to lose points.

"My husband is German, but I have a private problem with them. Someone from their team is abusing their relationship with officials and has arranged for me to have a German umpire," she lashed out.

World No. 6 Feng Tianwei had earlier booked her spot in the semi-final, and perhaps the Republic's No. 2 player Wang was frustrated over her tame loss, which ended the Singapore dream of having two players in the last four, and a guaranteed medal.

Her anger was palpable, when she continued: "They are abusing their power and I can't respect that.

Today I feel fine personally about the match, but I feel bad for the sport and bad for the Olympic Games that this is allowed to happen."

Outburst

Wang had several run-ins with the German chair umpire Claudia Moeller during the 32-minute quarter-final clash, mostly over her service.

Her outburst was reminiscent of incidents at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Dortmund in March this year.

The trouble there started in the women's team group stage tie between Singapore and Taiwan, when chair umpire Klaus Seipold of Germany and his assistant, Jeton Beqiri of Kosovo, warned both Wang and Cheng I-ching several times over service errors in their singles clash.

Wang won the match 3-2 but was later sent off for allegedly offering "illegal advice" from the bench when teammate Li Jiawei took on Lin Chia-hui.

Incensed, she branded the match officials as being "not professional enough" and "untouchable".

That incident earned her a warning letter from the International Table Tennis Federation, with the threat of heavier penalties if she fell out of line again.

The Singapore team went all the way to the final, although they received several more warnings along the way, while the players felt there was increased scrutiny of their bats before matches.

They lost to China 3-0 in the final.

Even with her beef with the umpire at the ExCeL Arena, Wang admitted Ishikawa deserved to win.

Singapore women's head coach Zhou Shusen said his player was always going to be at a disadvantage in the match.

"Yuegu won the first game, but after that she had no reply to Ishikawa's play," he said.

"Yuegu is still lacking when it comes to the technique to handle left-handed players (such as Ishikawa) and she has always been the underdog when the two meet."


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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