Medal machine, and not leader

Medal machine, and not leader
Paddlers visit to Rainbow Centre
Singapore No. 1 paddler Feng Tianwei, admiring artwork done by students from Rainbow Centre-Yishun Park School, a campus for children with special needs, ahead of her first World Team Table Tennis Championships outing as national captain next week.

SINGAPORE - The Singapore women's table tennis players have enjoyed a tremendous run at the last three world championships.

They won silver in 2008, stunned mighty China to win gold in 2010 and finished second again in 2012.

Feng Tianwei has been a part of all three teams. She was also in the team that won a silver and a bronze at the last two Olympics, and at the London Games in 2012, she also finished third in the women's singles.

She has long been Singapore No. 1, but the upcoming World Team Table Tennis Championships will be her first big tournament as captain of the women's squad.

Quiet and unassuming, the 27-year-old's demeanour suggests she is not the kind of leader who motivates and rallies her teammates with Churchillian speeches.

Feng could afford to crack a joke with The New Paper yesterday, when she said: "I'll know what to do. It's just deciding what colour we wear for our jerseys."

The world No. 5 obviously knows what is required of her, as the women's team strive to continue their proud streak of winning a medal this year in Tokyo.

"For me, the most important thing is to play to the best of our abilities. If we can do that, then we've got a chance to medal.

"Of course, the first task is to play well enough to get to the top eight first."

Following the retirement of stalwarts like Li Jiawei, Wang Yuegu and Sun Beibei, who were all part of the team that stunned the world when they floored China to win the 2010 tournament, the national women's team have entered a stage of transition as they prepare for the 2016 Olympics.

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