Despite being fairly confident of winning three out of the four golds on offer at next month's SEA Games, the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) remains cautious of a threat from an unlikely source.
It is understood that hosts Myanmar will be fielding a team that consists of China-born paddlers.
"I was told that they have a new team of foreign talent," said STTA president Lee Bee Wah yesterday.
Singapore's paddlers made a clean sweep of all five golds at the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia. With the three doubles events replaced with two team events, only four will be up for grabs in Naypyitaw.
The Republic are the highest-ranked team in the region and remain odds-on favourites for honours next month, despite not fielding the nation's top paddlers on the men's and women's side - world No. 16 Gao Ning and No. 4 Feng Tianwei.
Nevertheless, Lee cautioned: "Our opponents are strong. There are many good players in the South-east Asia region, but they don't go out to compete on the professional circuit often so we don't meet them often.
"We may not be familiar with their style. Table tennis is a very fast game. With an 11-point system (for each game), we cannot afford to slip at any moment."
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