SINGAPORE: Singapore have won their first medal at the London Olympics.
Feng Tianwei beat Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa 4-0 in the women’s singles table tennis match to clinch the bronze for Singapore on Wednesday.
Feng, ranked world number eight, defeated the world number six in just 25 minutes.
The first game was a close affair, but Feng came out tops 11-9 in just seven minutes.
Singapore’s ace paddler was on fire, taking the second and third games by the same score 11-6.
And she was too good for the 19-year-old Japanese, winning the fourth game 11-5.
The two had met three times before, with Feng winning two of those encounters.
The bronze is Singapore’s first singles medal since the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Feng was also instrumental in winning the Republic’s women’s team silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.
In Singapore, fans gathered at a Yishun coffeeshop to watch the history-making match.
The screening was organised by the Singapore Table Tennis Association to drum up support for Singapore’s medal hopeful.
“I’m so happy, so happy! I can’t express my feelings!” said a supporter.
“Very proud of Tianwei. Actually all the paddlers – they put in a lot of hard work,” said another.
Singapore’s Table Tennis Association’s Honorary Secretary, Soon Min Sin, said: “If you look at the last three Olympic Games, where our players went all the way into the semi-finals, and yet we failed to win a medal for Singapore…So the win is really a great breakthrough for us.”
Within minutes of Feng’s historic win, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted a congratulatory message on his FaceBook page.
He congratulated Feng on her “resounding 4-0 win over Ishikawa of Japan” and her winning of “Singapore’s first individual Olympic medal in 52 years”.
Mr Lee said: “We are all proud of you. And well done Team Singapore!”
The prime minister also urged all athletes to keep the Singapore flag flying high.
And to those who are still competing at the London Olympic Games, Mr Lee said “we are behind you all the way”.
Channel News Asia