June 25, 2017

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by Suhaile Md 

SO WHAT if she was axed from the national team training programme six months back? Feng Tianwei’s still got it. Singapore’s top table tennis star won the 2017 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) title on Sunday (Apr 23).

It’s her first major title since she was booted out of the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) last October. Apparently, the 30-year-old didn’t fit into its rejuvenation plans, so STTA would not support her training. It would however support her participation in the ITTF world circuit. Though it’s not clear what exactly this support entails. As for major meets like the Olympics and the Asian Games, she will face the same qualifying criteria as any other STTA athlete. The three-time Olympic medallist had failed to make it past the Olympic quarter-finals in Rio 2016.

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There was much drama surrounding Feng’s ouster (links below). But she was quick to pick herself up and form a team to support her training. She has been busy competing since.

Barely over a month after the split, Feng faced world No. 1 and reigning Olympic champion, Ding Ning in a China Table Tennis Super League match on Dec 6. The bout was a nail-biter, but Feng prevailed, beating the world champion by just one set. The score: 3:2.

While the win gave her a much needed confidence boost, constant travel across China for league matches took a toll. A few days later at the ITTF Doha Open, Feng lost 3:4 to Miu Hirano of Japan in the round of 16. That’s one step short of the quarter finals. It was the last event of the year.

The loss of STTA’s resources clearly had an impact. “This is the first competition I’m going to where I’m handling every aspect of competing by myself,” said Feng after her loss to Japan, reported The Straits Times (Dec 10).

Lucky for her, she still qualified for the Sports Excellence Scholarship which provides her with a monthly stipend of up to $8,000 amongst other benefits like medical support. The scholarship is awarded by the High Performance Sports (HPS) Steering Committee, not STTA. HPS is chaired by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu. Feng successfully renewed the scholarship in March this year.

Feng’s 2017 season started on a sour note. She was absent from the STTA awards ceremony in mid-February although she was the top table tennis performer in Singapore last year. She had come in third for both the World Cup and Asian Cup in 2016. The best player award was not given out that night.

According to ST, when asked about Feng’s absence, STTA president Ellen Lee said: “She is no longer at the STTA… all this while, we have been recognising Feng Tianwei for what she has done and we are grateful… I think it’s about time that we also let the recognition be given and spread on to other players as well.”

February was a dismal month for her. For the ITTF Qatar Open, she was defeated by German Solja Petrissa, who ranked 13th in the world, by two sets. Feng was ranked sixth at that time.

There was one bright spot. On Feb 23, Feng met the qualifying criteria for the Asian Table Tennis Championship in April, so STTA took her in as part of its Singapore contingent. It was the first time she played with the STTA since their October split. On April 14 though, she lost to China’s Chen Meng at the quarter-final stage in three straight sets.

Despite the loss, Feng was ranked third in the world by ITTF in March and April, up from sixth when she parted ways with STTA. The next best Singaporean, ranked 25th in the world, is Zeng Jian. Since Feng is no longer in the STTA, this makes 20-year-old Zeng STTA’s best player.

Feng solidified her hold on the global rankings with her ITTF Korea Open win on Sunday (Apr 23). After her win, she said: “At the moment I don’t practise with the national team in Singapore although I live there. I am practising in different clubs and with different private sparring partners. Sometimes I even go to China for training.”

The three highest ITTF ranked players will represent Singapore in the SEA games team events this August, said STTA technical director Loy Soo Han in response to queries from The New Paper in January.

So it really doesn’t matter whether Feng is part of STTA or not as far as the glory of Singapore is concerned. Feng could still play for the national team if she maintains her ranking. If she wins medals, Singapore’s best paddler would have done so with little to no resources spent on her by STTA. Very much like Joseph Schooling.
.

Read more on last October’s controversy here:

  1. Feng breaks silence on STTA controversy. Here’s her letter – in English

  2. What STTA’s Deputy President said about Feng Tianwei’s sacking

  3. Feng was a “bad egg”, a “disgrace to nation”, says STTA Deputy President

  4. Feng Tianwei’s shock exit and the economy

 

Featured image by cm yong. (CC BY 2.0)

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by Bertha Henson

EMINENT members of the board of an un-named company sat around the table, wondering what to do with a couple of troublesome employees whom they want to give the sack.

They had been watching the public reactions to sackings by the SMRT, Singapore Table Tennis Association, Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and now, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).

What an uproar! What controversy! What bad publicity! 

Chairman turned to HR Manager (HRM) to ask what the employer-employee contracts say about termination of employment. The obsequious reply: “Yes, Chairman, we can sack. We won’t have any union problem, Chairman, because they are executives. Don’t worry, Chairman.”

Chairman turned to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to ask if said employees deserved to be fired. The reply: “Maybe. Maybe not. Depends.”

Chairman barked back: “Depends on what?”

CEO replied: “Like whether we want to do a disciplinary inquiry to make our case for sacking stronger…”

Chairman: “One inquiry enough? Or should they chalk up more demerit points? What if the inquiry turned up nothing?”

CEO replied: “We can do like the SEC and say not a good fit for the company or something. Or we can say it’s for rejuvenation purposes, need young blood and all that. Like the table tennis people.”

Chairman: “I would rather not have to face the media and give reasons. Just look at what that Ellen Lee had to do, talk to TV people and different newspapers… and so many leaks! By the way, none of you should post on social media about this… on pain of… errr…. forced resignation.”

HRM interjected: “Not to worry, Chairman. We don’t deal with eggs or milk, Chairman. Nor are we in the Olympic league…”

CEO looked askance at HRM. Was she subtly telling Chairman that he was not meeting his KPIs? He ventured: “What if it’s a criminal offence?”

Chairman: “Then clearly we have to sack! Have we reported to police yet? What does our legal department say?”

Legal looked up from his stack of documents on the table. He was still trying to figure out the Employment Act and, being far-sighted, at any form legal redress that might be available to sack employees. Unfair dismissal… Hmmm…

Pushing his spectacles back up his nose, Legal cleared his throat noisily and proceeded to give a legal non-answer which flummoxed the board.

They only understood one question he asked: “Any of them pregnant?” He cited chapter and verse of what happened to Faith Community Baptist Church when it sacked a pregnant employee who had an extra-marital affair.

Ominously, he said: “This would bring our company into disrepute. Of course, we can defend ourselves with these precedents…”

Independent Director (ID), known for his kindness and magnanimity, suggested maybe a period of suspension without pay would do while a police report was made.

Then the sacking could come if or when there was a conviction. But Head of Public Communication (HPC) objected immediately: “They can’t still be employed with us while they are being investigated and tried in court! The media will keep referring to them as our employees instead of ex-employees!”

They were in a bit of a pickle. Those troublemakers were causing them more trouble than ever. CEO suggested just paying them off with a golden handshake or retrenchment benefits, which made Chief Financial Officer (CFO) lift his eyebrows so high they reached past his hairline.

He wondered if CEO was stupid. Companies were disguising retrenchments so as not to pay out benefits – and here was this silly guy suggesting paying off people whom they wanted to sack.

CFO said tersely: “But we’re not retrenching. We’re making healthy profits and will be expanding.”

HRM suggested changing the terms of employment immediately from full-time permanent to yearly or six-monthly renewable contracts. That way, she said, the company can just say that the contracts weren’t renewed.

The board mulled over this suggestion in collective silence. Applied to all employees, it might even save the company money in terms of employee benefits.

HRM, encouraged by the silence, suggested that a probation term be added to the contract so that to all intents and purposes, the said employees were told to go because they failed to meet standards.

ID squirmed, wondering if this met rules of corporate governance. He asked timidly if there was any need to even go public with the sackings in the first place. And with luck, the media wouldn’t find out what had happened.

Chairman, who was already late for his golf game, said: “Yes! Yes! Just tell them to go! No need for press release or anything. It’s private company business anyway! We’re not a non-profit company or social enterprise or sports association or charity. It’s nobody’s business but ours!”

HPC interjected: “But these fellows might go and complain to the media. Nowsaday hor, people go to the media all the time when they don’t get paid or get paid late and then I got so much work answering media queries.”

CFO glanced at the man, who is well-known as a nine-to-fiver. He made a mental note to re-check his salary and language levels.

Legal spoke up timorously, suggesting that the board simply say that there were complaints and that it was a reportable offence. But the spokespeople had to steer clear of defamation. “Personal indiscretion” is safe because it is so vague and can be subject to several interpretations, he added.

CEO, thinking that he had better show some leadership, said: “Okay, we have several options: rejuvenation, wrong fit, poor performance, personal indiscretion, retrenchment or contract terms… Which would be best for us?”

ID, for whom this was his first board meeting, realised that he was cognizant of all the facts. “Hmm, what did these two people do by the way?”

All eyes bored into him. With one voice, they said: “They complained about not being paid enough.”

ID said: “Oh. Sack. Must sack.’’

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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AFTER a week of accusations of her misconduct and speculation over whether they were the reason for her dismissal from the national squad, Feng Tianwei finally broke her silence on the matter last night (Oct 28). After issuing a statement to various media, she then posted it on her Facebook page.

 

The letter was written in Chinese, so we took a stab at translating it for you:

HELLO everyone. I’m so grateful for the concern that everyone has given me. I’ve let everyone worry, I’m very sorry about that.

What happened this week happened suddenly, I myself also needed some time to adjust. That’s why I’ve stayed silent these few days, and have not responded. Thank you all for waiting so patiently.

Ever since I began representing Singapore in table tennis in 2007, it has been almost 10 years. During this time, I’ve had some achievements. I became a world champion. I won a few Olympic medals, and standing on the world’s largest award podium, I have fulfilled a childhood dream of mine.

I’ve made it possible for the Singapore flag to fly high in the international sporting scene, and for Singapore’s national anthem to echo around the world.

I would not have been able to achieve all this without the help of the Singapore government, sports committee members, Olympic committee, the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), and the strong support from all over.

Here, I wish to express my sincerest thanks to all of these people.

At the same time, I would also like to thank my fans and the people who have supported me. Thank you for being with me on this journey through tough times. You have filled me with motivation as I pressed on in my journey. Because of you, I have not felt lonely.

The Singapore government has given me opportunities. It has allowed me to become a citizen, and represent the country to compete internationally. To have a career in table tennis is something that I’ve fought for in my life. I will not give it up easily. I will continue to play, continue to represent Singapore, continue to fight on the international stage. I hope that I can help to develop Singapore’s table tennis scene and make it better. I hope that this will prove to everyone that the Singapore government’s support of local sports will have guaranteed returns!

Even though I am no longer on the national squad, I will still live in Singapore. I am still on a scholarship, and am still in discussions with various organisations on competing in the sport. STTA has also said it would continue to support me if I choose to compete internationally.

Therefore, I will continue to strive and not give up on myself. I want to continue to compete as a representative of Singapore.

I feel regretful that I was not able to bring back any medals from the recently concluded Olympic games. It was through this experience that I recognised that I still have a lot of room for improvement.

I plan to put together a team, hire different expert coaches, and return to the competition arena in a new way. Perhaps this will bring even more opportunities for me to grow as a player.

I want to train and compete harder. I want to improve myself by playing against and sharing experiences with the world’s greatest players.

I hope to have the opportunity to compete in fair and open competitions internationally, and wish that I will be able to compete in the 2020 Olympics. I want to bring back more Olympic medals for Singapore, to get the fourth Olympic medal of my sporting career.

These few days, there have been some newspapers that have untruthfully reported on my character and attacked me personally. This has created an extremely ugly situation. I am shocked that these rumours have surfaced.

During my contracted time with STTA, I have never cheated anyone of money, or acted in any way that was unlawful. I have already consulted a lawyer on these false claims, and hope there will not be any more of such untruthful reports.

Finally, I want to thank everyone and my friends in the media for their support and for respecting my privacy. I am a Singapore citizen. To be able to give my strength for the glory of Singapore is my honour. Please continue to support me!

I would like to contribute and continue to represent Singapore. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for your support.

Thank you everyone!

Feng Tianwei

 

Here are some of our past stories on the controversy:

The ping pong game: Who’s the bad egg then?

Feng was a “bad egg”, a “disgrace to nation”, says STTA Deputy President

What STTA’s Deputy President said about Feng Tianwei’s sacking

The ‘assassination’ of a national Olympian

Feng Tianwei’s shock exit and the economy

 

Featured image Women’s World Cup Table Tennis by Flickr user cm yong. (CC BY 2.0)

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PADDLER Feng Tianwei has spoken up. She didn’t give a press conference after all. She issued a statement to the media written in Chinese. She also gave one interview, to The Straits Times, which was one news media which did not speculate on why she was given the axe.

“Some reports have made assassinations on my character and impacted my reputation negatively. I am shocked by these allegations. Throughout my time at the STTA, I have never committed fraud or done anything illegal. I have consulted lawyers on these reports,” her statement said.

Well, well. Who’s the bad egg then? Table tennis is sure giving out a powerful pong.

TODAY and The New Paper had reported sources giving reasons for her dismissal. These included misconduct and ill-discipline. Among other things, they said she didn’t want to share her prize money and that she had made false claims regarding the now infamous 200 eggs she had for breakfast over nine days. You can read our report here.

In the ST interview, Feng said: “I never made any claim for more than what I’m entitled to, nor cheated the association of money, or did anything unlawful.”

The STTA has been coy about her sacking, saying only that the 30-year old didn’t fit into its rejuvenation plans. But news reports have painted her as an athlete who was difficult to manage and who had had several run-ins with management. On Thursday night, its deputy president David Sim shed more light on reasons for her sacking on his Facebook page, describing her as a national disgrace and a “bad egg”.

The STTA has distanced itself from Mr Sim’s comments, which he has since deleted. They were his “personal” views, it said yesterday. But it also took the opportunity yesterday to tackle one point which could be a legal minefield if left to stand: allegations that she had made false claims.

It said: “Regarding the recent media reports, Feng Tianwei was cautioned about the proper claiming procedure, but she did not falsify nor claim more than what she was permitted.”

Now, here’s the interesting part: TODAY is standing by its sources. In its news report on the STTA statement, it said it had seen documents detailing Feng’s dubious claims.

What a twist in the tale!

Feng didn’t say why she thought she was sacked in the interview, nor did she refer to STTA’s rejuvenation’s plans.

ST had this strange paragraph in its story:

It is understood that things with former women’s team head coach Jing Junhong reached a nadir at the Polish Open in November last year, following which Jing was redeployed and replaced by Liu Jiayi. Liu was later succeeded by Chen Zhibin.

Feng said: “I never thought that things couldn’t be salvaged. That would mean I wanted to cut off all ties with the STTA.”

This would be gibberish to someone who hasn’t been following news about the sport. So here’s a short background note: Feng, together with fellow paddler Yu Mengyu, had asked STTA for a change in the women’s team coach to help them improve their games. This follows an open dispute between Jing and Yu at the international competition earlier in October which resulted in a reprimand for each. Jing was replaced by Liu Jiayi.

So what’s that got to do with the price of eggs???

It looks like the STTA now sees some wisdom in going public. STTA president Ellen Lee was on ChannelNewsAsia last night saying that deliberations to drop Feng started more than two years ago. If so, it was really good at keeping things under wraps because Feng declared in the ST interview that she was “really taken aback because it wasn’t something I had considered before.”

Contrary to reports that her sacking was the culmination of a series of run-ins with management, Ms Lee stuck to STTA’s script about rejuvenation plans.

“If we only concentrated on just continuing to develop and assist her in her games, then we are not being fair to our youth and to our younger players in Singapore who are trying very hard as well to be able to go into the place that she has occupied,” said Ms Lee, who took over the helm from MP Lee Bee Wah in 2014. 

“We have to promote the sport, we have to make sure we groom enough players to take over any vacancies that come about.”

She did not want to be drawn into confirming or denying news reports giving reasons for her sacking.

“It’s hard for me to comment on people’s speculations,” she said. “STTA has never made official statements to that extent, and I guess if there is an angle that people want to create that really makes her look bad, STTA cannot be held responsible for that.”

That’s pretty rich. What can STTA be held responsible for then?

 

You can read our English translation of Feng Tianwei’s letter to the media here.

 

 

Featured image from TMG file.

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COMPARE this: “Feng Tianwei has been a cornerstone of the national team since 2007. She has brought many golden moments to the sport. We would like to thank her for all that she has done for Singapore table tennis, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish Tianwei all the best in her future endeavours.”

To this: “She has been ill-discipline, disrespect n misconduct as reported in the newspaper then it is a disgrace to the nation instead… It is also good for STTA to send this signal to the players that STTA shall not tolerate those players with bad characters.”

The first statement is from the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s (STTA) president Ellen Lee. The second – from her deputy, Mr David Sim.

We’re talking about the sacking of national paddler Feng Tianwei, of course – and the STTA’s surprise announcement this week that it would not to renew her contract when it expires next Monday.

In a candid conversation Mr Sim had on his Facebook page yesterday (Oct 27) with some other users, he made clear why the association no longer wanted anything to do with Feng, a three-time Olympic medallist.

Here are the highlights:

 

On the news leak of her disciplinary issues:

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On those 200 eggs and why it’s a big deal:

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On the importance of the reputation of STTA and Singapore:

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On grooming local talent:

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Read more about the controversy here:

Feng was a “bad egg”, a “disgrace to nation”, says STTA Deputy President

The ‘assassination’ of a national Olympian

 

Featured image from TMG file. 

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For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

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TMG Breaking News Visual Image, TMG Breaking News, The Middle Ground

THE Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) has spoken. On why it axed Feng Tianwei. At least its deputy president has. On Facebook.

Mr David Sim has been busy replying to posters who have asked him about the shock sacking which, on the official record, was about how the paddler with three Olympic medals didn’t fit into its “rejuvenation plans”.

Perhaps, Mr Sim, chairman of Woodlands Citizens Consultative Committee and a property realtor, might not have realised that his posts were set to “public”. His responses make for interesting reading indeed.

He wrote that he thought Feng was a national disgrace because of her ill disciplined conduct, and that an athlete’s character and integrity was more important than the glory the athlete can bring to the country.

To a poster who thought the sacking could have been better handled and has become an international joke, he replied: “I don’t feel that way but since she has been ill-discipline, disrespect n misconduct as reported in the newspaper then it is a disgrace to the nation.”

He also implied that it was STTA which leaked the news of some of her misdemeanours to the media, such as the 200 eggs she charged STTA for.

“if this is not true then STTA will not reveal this news n FTW can sue STTA n why not ask her to do it if she is innocent.”

It wasn’t a question of whether STTA could afford the bill of a few hundred dollars but how unbelievable this was. “if this is not true then STTA will not reveal this news n FTW (Feng Tianwei) can sue STTA n why not ask her to do it if she is innocent.”

Mr Sim also said that discipline was a bigger factor in her sacking than grooming local talent: “If any local or foreign players have done serious misconduct then it is not only tarnish the image to STTA but the nation.”

He added: “STTA has done rightfully in order not to keep bad ‘eggs’.”

Well, well.

It’s odd that an STTA official would go on this roundabout route to slam an athlete, so we called Mr Sim to ask him about it.

His first response was that he was only depending on what the media had reported – and denied that he had described her as a national disgrace. Asked if the media reports were true about the eggs et al, he prevaricated and said “it should be”.

In any case, given that it was early in the morning and we seemed to have rumbled him out of bed, we suggested that Mr Sim re-read his posts and reply to our queries. He promptly took them down and his last words to us were: “I have no comment”.

 

Read more about what Mr Sim said about Feng on his Facebook page here:

What STTA’s Deputy President said about Feng Tianwei’s sacking

 

Featured image from TMG file. 

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Clock showing 0830

IT’S been a week of mixed messages for driver-less technology in Singapore. nuTonomy, which launched the world’s first driver-less taxis here in August, has decided to put any further trials on hold after one of its cars were involved in an accident on Tuesday (Oct 18).

The vehicle, which had been travelling at a low speed of about 4kmh, had collided with a lorry while changing lanes at Biopolis Drive at one-north. nuTonomy’s co-founder Emilio Frazzoli said yesterday that trials are currently suspended as investigations into the incident continue.

Meanwhile, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is teaming up with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to try and bring driver-less buses onto the roads – as early as 2018.

In what’s being described as the first autonomous bus trial here, the two groups hope to develop and test driver-less buses that will ply scheduled routes around NTU and CleanTech Park. Service may be extended to the nearby Pioneer MRT station the following year.

Experts interviewed by TODAY said driver-less buses may be easier to implement since they follow fixed routes, but whether they could be deployed on a wider scale is still a question. It’s unlikely to become the norm in the next five years, said Professor Lee Der Horng.

Here’s another question: Will bus drivers still have jobs if this takes off?

National Transport Workers Union executive secretary Melvin Yong tried to put a positive spin on this yesterday, saying: “With the advent of this technology, there will be new job opportunities for our transport workers. It is also likely that we will see future changes on today’s jobs.”

“The union is keeping a close watch on the development and will continue to work with our tripartite partners to help our bus professionals upskill and be updated on the latest technology in the industry,” he wrote on Facebook.

You know, it really takes skill to say a lot and yet say nothing.

Which brings us to The Straits Times’ (ST) big story on national paddler Li Hu and why he has been suspended by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) – not that you would know by reading the report.

The story takes up a whole half-page, but doesn’t actually say why or what trouble he’s in. Instead, the newspaper offers readers a tongue-twister:

“The Straits Times understands that the 28-year-old is also assisting the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in an investigation, although it is believed the subject of the investigation is not the cause of his suspension by the STTA.”

Huh?

Go read The New Paper and the answer is right on its cover: “Li Hu allegedly tried to bribe official.”

Ah. Details are scant but it appears he and a relative might have tried to bribe an official from the national sports association. STTA reported this to the authorities, which then resulted in CPIB coming into the picture.

ST did, however, get a response from Li, who appeared to acknowledge some wrongdoing – though, he did not say what. “I made a mistake – everyone does. I’m genuinely sorry and I’m willing to admit my wrongdoing. I just hope STTA will give me a chance.”

STTA president Ellen Lee said Li’s contract has not yet been terminated and that a disciplinary committee would look into the case.

 

Featured image from TMG file.

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by Suhaile Md

AWARD-WINNING but not good enough? The national men’s table tennis head coach Yang Chuanning has been fired while the national women’s head coach Jing Junhong is redeployed as Chief Coach (Youth Development). The announcement made yesterday by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) was a curious development given that earlier this year, Yang Chuanning won the Keppel-STTA Sports Excellence Award 2014  and Jing Junhong won Coach of the Year 2014. What gives?

Apparently, it’s a consequence of soured relationships between coach and player. With Jing, national players Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu requested for change in order to improve their games. As for Yang, the players had complained about his performance during a review. It’s not clear if there were issues simmering beneath the surface from the start of the coaches’ tenures or if it’s a recent development.

Yang Chuanning took over as head coach in Aug 2010. Brought in after his successful stint as a coach in China, where he trained Olympic medallists like Li Ju, Yang groomed the men’s team to several historic wins. In Feb 2012, paddlers Gao Ning and Yang Zi won the men’s doubles at the Asian Table Tennis Championships in Macau – nearly 60 years after Singapore last won that title. A month later, the men’s team, reached the quarter finals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships for the first time in Singapore’s history – they surpassed this record to rank fifth in the 2014 championships. This is on top of the other medals won in events like the SEA games and Commonwealth games.

So it’s rather puzzling when reports indicate that the reason for Yang’s dismissal is performance based:

The Straits Times understands that the players had given negative feedback regarding Yang, with complaints questioning both his professionalism and capability. Among the gripes were perceived views that Yang does not treat the players equally – and looks down in particular on local-born paddlers – and has also failed to adapt training regimes to the new balls and ahead of big tournaments.’

Jing Junhong was the deputy to head coach Zhou Shusen of the women’s team for three years before taking over in Oct 2012. She was the only candidate considered for the job when Zhou announced his retirement.

In fact, Zhou gave a ringing endorsement: “Everyone saw how Jing guided (Feng) Tianwei to a singles bronze and the team to another bronze at this year’s (2012) Olympics… She has the technical nous, the coaching skills and the ability to gel the players together. I don’t see any problems in her succeeding me because there have been a number of areas where she is better than me”.

In the past three years, the women’s team won, among other prizes, the bronze medal at the World Team Cup twice, in 2013 and 2015, Gold at the Commonwealth games in 2014, and bronze at the Asian games in 2014.

However, a prominent crack appeared just last month at the Polish Open. Paddler Yu Mengyu revealed that a conflict with Jing Junhong had affected her performance and caused her to lose a doubles match. This was after Jing insisted on coaching her for her singles match against World No. 2, Liu Shiwen. However, Yu preferred her usual coach, Hao Anlin. The STTA later said that Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu had expressed wishes to change the women’s team coach – that is, Jing Junhong – a week before the Polish Open.

Could that one incident really be the cause of Jing’s redeployment as is speculated? And what grave performance issues, in spite of his clear results, did Yang have which resulted in his ouster?

Whatever the case, let’s hope the STTA gets its house in order fast enough – the 2016 Olympics is just nine months away.

 

Featured image Women’s World Cup Table Tennis Feng Tianwei Singapore playing her quarterfinal match against World Champion of China, Gao Yue by Flickr user cm yongCC BY 2.0.

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