'S'pore bought their medals?'

(From left) Table-tennis players Zhou Yihan, Clarence Chew and Isabelle Li at the Far East Plaza atrium on 6 October 2013 in a joint event by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and the People’s Association (PA).

Australian table tennis veteran William Henzell has come out to slam the Singapore team, claiming that they have gone against the spirit of the Commonwealth Games by filling their squad with China-born paddlers.

The 32-year-old took issue with the fact that the Republic had just two "token" Singapore-born players - Clarence Chew and Isabelle Li - in their 10-strong teams, as the likes of China-born stars - women's world No. 4 Feng Tianwei and men's world No. 12 Gao Ning - led Singapore to winning six out of the seven table tennis gold medals on offer.

"I don't think what Singapore does is in the spirit of the Games," said Henzell, who was beaten by Gao in the last eight of the men's singles.

"It's disappointing to see. They decided it was much easier and quicker to buy a team rather than produce a team."

Australia's table tennis coach Jens Lang attempted to defuse the situation by saying that naturalised players were within their rights to compete for countries after they had immigrated.

In fact, half of his squad that competed in Glasgow were born in China. These include the women's doubles pair of China-born Lay Jian Fang and Miao Miao, who won a silver medal last night.


This article was published on Aug 3 in The New Paper.

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