SINGAPORE - Singapore's national table tennis players have been world-class for years, with the women especially prominent, after being crowned world team champions in 2010 and bagging one silver and two bronze medals at the Olympic Games - team silver in Beijing 2008 and team bronze and women's singles bronze in London 2012.
The search for the next batch of paddlers to succeed them has not been easy.
After a review, the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) has decided to dismantle the national youth team - the feeder squad for the national team - and introduce a new plan from next year.
The new system will see the top four finishers in STTA's local tournaments invited for selection trials to join a preparatory squad, ahead of tournaments like the South-east Asian (SEA) Junior Table Tennis Championships.
The tenure of the team will depend on the nature of the tournament, and will be disbanded right after the competition.
Speaking on Wednesday, STTA CEO Wong Hui Leng said: "The STTA has done a review of our youth development pathway and have found that we will need to chart a new path for Singapore if we ever harbour hopes of continuing to match the standards of the top table tennis nations, and more importantly, if we hope to see more Singapore-trained and groomed players on the winners' podium.
"The STTA has deliberated many times on which would be the best path in achieving results with the limited resources."