Schooling not the only one with equipment woes

Singapore table tennis star Feng Tianwei fell at the semi-final hurdle in the women's singles event at the London Olympics on Tuesday, and the whole nation will be behind the 25-year-old today when she goes for bronze in a play-off against Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa.

While world No. 8 Feng was in the midst of her semi-final battle with China's world No. 1 Ding Ning in London, the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) issued a statement last night providing a blow-by-blow account of the controversy over Joseph Schooling's equipment on his Olympic debut on Monday.

Just minutes before his 200m butterfly heat, the 17-year-old was forced to scramble for a spare cap and goggles after an official told him they did not fit Olympic regulations.

After a discussion with Joseph, the SSA found out that the swimmer could have used his own swim cap and goggles if the TYR brand was marked out in black. Joseph had used an unbranded Arena cap given to him and marked out the TYR brand on his goggles.

He went on to finish last in his heat, clocking a poor 1min 59.18sec, almost 2.5sec off his personal best.

It turns out that Schooling was not the only swimmer affected.

The SSA said: "We understand that several other swimmers from Sweden and Denmark have had the same experience with their TYR caps and goggles being disallowed."

The SSA added that they will seek clarification from TYR as to why their caps and goggles were not registered for use at the Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, at the Wembley Arena on Tuesday, Singapore shuttler and world No. 17 Gu Juan (below) made light work of Australia's Victoria Na, beating her 21-10, 21-7 to advance to the Round of 16 today.

She will will face world No. 11 Cheng Shao-chieh of Taiwan for a spot in the last eight.

Team manager Chua Yong Joo said: "It was quite an easy game as the opponent wasn't that strong.

"Even so, we didn't let our guard down and prepared well to get the job done and get Gu Juan ready for the Round of 16.

"She has gotten used to the conditions here and she will go into her next match confident, even though the Taiwanese opponent is ranked higher.

"Anything can happen."

Cheng holds a 2-1 lead over Gu Juan, after wins in the 2007 SCG Thailand Open and last February's Uber Cup group match.

But Gu Juan has also tasted victory, beating the Taiwanese in the 2010 Ciputra Hanoi Vietnam International Challenge.

Over in sailing, standard laser sailor Colin Cheng finished 26th and 20th in his third and fourth race on Tuesday, and is now 20th out of 49 sailors.

Women's laser radial sailor Elizabeth Yin finished 29th and 13th in her two races and is ranked 29th out of 41 sailors.

Weather conditions permitting, there are six races to go for both sailors, with the top 10 then taking part in the medal race.

SingaporeSailing high performance manager Chung Pei Ming said: "There is still a long way to go.

Cracking the top 10 is still possible, but they will have to work hard against the best sailors in the world here."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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