SINGAPORE - She has been in the national table tennis fold for a number of years already, but Yu Mengyu has spent much of it in the shadow of the crack Olympic team.
Over the years, the paddler has collected notable scalps like current world No. 1 Liu Shiwen of China, and Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa (ninth) and Ai Fukuhara (14th).
But her Singapore teammates like world No. 4 Feng Tianwei and the retired trio of Wang Yuegu, Li Jiawei and Sun Beibei have always been ahead of her in the pecking order.
Now, 24-year-old Yu is about to begin the second phase of her career.
For the first time, she will lead the Singapore women's team at this year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which will be held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, from Dec 11 to 22.
It will be a special occasion for her when she takes to the table for her first match.
"I've never seen myself as a da jie (big sister in Mandarin)," the world No. 22 told The New Paper recently. "I'm thankful the association has put its trust in me and it's understandable that people expect me to win every game because I'm the highest-ranked women's singles player.