Feng a big doubt for world cup

Feng a big doubt for world cup
Singapore's Feng Tian Wei (right) in action against China's Zhu Yuling during their Women's Singles Semi Final match in the Asian Games 2014.

Singapore may withdraw from this year's table tennis Women's World Cup following an injury crisis that has hit the national women's team.

With world No. 11 Yu Mengyu already ruled out of the invitational tournament with a back problem, the Republic's top paddler Feng Tianwei faces a race against time to be fit for the event.

World No. 4 Feng revealed she may have to give the annual tournament, which will take place in Austria from Oct 17 to 19, a miss to recover from injuries to her knees and wrist.

Feng and Yu Mengyu are the only two Singaporeans offered slots at the invitational tournament.

While Feng played through the pain barrier at the recent Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, to help the Republic to two bronze medals (women's singles and women's team), the Women's World Cup may be one competition too many for her.

With Yu already out because of a back injury that cut short her Asiad campaign, it could mean a Singapore no-show.

"Mengyu will be withdrawn from the Women's World Cup... while our young paddlers are taking part in the SEA Table Tennis Championships from Nov 1 to 5 in Cambodia," said Eddy Tay, the Singapore Table Tennis Association's (STTA) high performance manager.

"As for Tian Wei, we will have to assess her condition again to see if she can recover in time."

As Feng came through the arrival gates at Changi Airport's Terminal 2 after her Asian Games exploits yesterday, she wore a weary look on her face that only disappeared at the sight of a 300-strong homecoming party.

"The priority for me now is to rest and let my knees recover," said Feng, 28, a singles bronze medallist at last year's World Cup in Kobe, Japan.

"I'll probably have to rest for about a month or two, and I may have to miss the Women's World Cup."

Despite Feng potentially missing out on one of the most prestigious events in the sport, national women's team coach Jing Junhong believes that the sacrifice may prove beneficial to her paddlers in the long run.

"We will consult the doctors again on (Feng and Yu's) conditions...(but) missing the Women's World Cup may not be a bad thing as we need to take care of our paddlers' well-being," said Jing.

"We've had three major competitions this year, with two of them really close to each other, which explains why our players are injured due to the lack of proper rest.

"There are still many competitions to go for, like December's ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, and the start of the new World Tour season next year before the SEA Games in June, so if we don't handle the paddlers well, we may face a problem leading up to the Olympics in 2016."

This article was first published on October 6, 2014.
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