After competing in close to 10 tournaments in various countries, youth paddler Yin Jing Yuan finally got what he had been on the hunt for yesterday.
The 17-year-old qualified for this year's Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, earning a berth in the boys' event at the Asia Continental Qualification event in Bangkok.
He beat Lebanon's Mohamad Hamie 11-9, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 in the semi-final of the third stage of the tournament, after taking down Tola Soeung of Cambodia with ease in the quarter-finals (11-7, 11-5, 12-10, 11-3).
The wins gave him one of the two remaining qualifying spots left at the competition, joining team-mate Yee Herng Hwee who qualified for the YOG girls' event a day earlier.
Jing Yuan was made to wait for his qualifying spot, after a narrow 3-4 loss to India's Abhishek Yadav on Sunday in the second stage of the event.
"I was affected by what happened in that match," he told The Straits Times yesterday. "I knew this event was my best chance of qualifying and it was the last day today so I was more nervous than usual.
"I don't think I played to what I'm capable of, and my opponents also put up a good fight, but I still managed to overcome the pressure."
The format of the tournament states that the two winning semi-finalists of the second and third stage of the event qualify without needing to play the final.
A total of four qualifying spots were available in each of the boys' and girls' singles events.
Singapore Table Tennis Association president Lee Bee Wah was naturally delighted at news of the Republic booking two spots at the Aug 16-28 Games.
She said: "I am so proud of our young players' achievement. Their hard work has paid off. They have done Singapore proud and I hope they will continue with more success at the YOG."
The YOG training squad are recipients of the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship, having been awarded $100,000 to aid their chase for a YOG spot. The Straits Times understands that the team could soon receive more to help in their preparation for the Games.
This article was published on April 8 in The Straits Times.
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