After months of preparations, Singapore's paddlers, charged with delivering the first gold medals, and a clean sweep in all seven events by the end of the 2015 South-east Asia (SEA) Games, are raring to go as the table tennis competition gets underway today at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
"We are well-prepared. The anticipation can take its toll on the mind and we can't wait to start," said national men's coach Yang Chuanning after yesterday morning's training session.
Singapore's table tennis squad last swept seven golds at a Games in Korat in 2007. They were denied by Vietnam in the men's doubles in Vientiane 2009.
Dinh Quang Linh, part of the winning pair six years ago, will team up with Duong Van Nam this year.
Some felt Cambodia would provide a threat, after naturalising South Korean paddlers Ly Song Hong and Su Kim Sour, who helped their adopted country win two golds at the South-east Asian Table Tennis Championships last year.
But Cambodia team manager Ngoy Bunthong confirmed with The New Paper that they will feature an all-local team here.
There will be two gold medals on offer tomorrow, with the women's doubles final preceding the men's event.
Singapore coach Yang agreed that winning the men's doubles would immediately "boost morale and loosen the pressure knots", but the 56-year-old was confident of his charges.
He added: "We prepared in anticipation that they (Cambodia's naturalised players) will be here. We were confident of beating them. Whether they come or not, it doesn't really affect us.
"Now that they will not play, our main contenders are Vietnam and Thailand.