Singapore table tennis player Yu Mengyu to retire after 16 years and switch to coaching

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SINGAPORE – After spending half her life within the sport, nationwide paddler Yu Mengyu has referred to as time on a profession that noticed her successful a number of medals on the SEA Games, (*16*) Games and Asian Games.

Yu, 32, made the announcement on the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s (STTA) Annual Awards Night on Tuesday (March 22).

Her final worldwide competitors was final August’s Tokyo Olympics, the place she gained Singaporean hearts after combating via an damage within the semi-final towards China’s eventual gold medallist Chen Meng, earlier than dropping to Japan’s Mima Ito within the third-place play-off.

Despite hanging up her bat, Yu will proceed to be concerned within the fraternity as she has been appointed assistant coach for the STTA junior improvement squad for prime potential athletes aged 9 to 12 years previous.

Calling it an essential second in her life, Yu stated she is completely happy to work with the youthful era.

She added: “This is the correct time for me to retire and I’ve all the time indicated my precedence could be to proceed to work with STTA who has been nurturing me all these years.

“Looking again on the previous 16 years of my profession, they have been crammed with touching moments and honours. From now on, I’ll open a brand new chapter of my life.

“I want to share my experiences with (the younger players) and groom these young athletes into champions of Singapore. I will keep adhering to the tenacious and indomitable sportsmanship which is crucial to success, and I hope to convey more positive energy to others and to society at large.”

Born in Liaoning, China, Yu began taking part in the game on the age of 5 and ultimately turned a provincial table tennis player. This led to STTA coach Chen Yong talent-spotting her and she accepted his supply as she was searching for alternatives to compete in worldwide competitions.

She arrived right here when she was 17 and first represented Singapore in 2006, earlier than receiving her citizenship a 12 months later. In 2010, she was a part of the group who surprised China 3-1 to be topped world champions.

But her journey was not all smooth-sailing as Yu had to battle a number of accidents over the years.

In 2014, she suffered from spinal and shoulder accidents which left her bedridden for a month. During the 2016 Rio Games, she had injections and platelet-rich plasma therapy, earlier than present process surgical procedure to repair a torn labrum within the shoulder later that 12 months.

At the World Table Tennis Star Contender competitors in Doha final 12 months, her again damage flared up, leaving her unable to stroll and she had to be escorted on a wheelchair to board her flight residence.

The STTA awards on Tuesday evening additionally noticed Olympian Clarence Chew handed the Special Award (Senior Category) alongside males’s coach Gao Ning, whereas youth paddler Izaac Quek – who turned the boys’ Under-15 world No. 1 in April 2021 – was named the Youth Player of the Year.

Izaac was happy to win the award and thanked the STTA for sending him to extra abroad competitions in direction of the top of final 12 months.

The 15-year-old, who hopes to compete on this 12 months’s (*16*) Games and Asian Games, stated: “Competing overseas really helped me with updating my skills and I learnt a lot about what I have to work on.”

Ser Lin Qian, who gained Singapore’s first medal – a U-15 women’ singles bronze – on the International Table Tennis Federation World Youth Championships final 12 months, took residence the Special Award (Junior Category).

Lin Qian, 15, stated the award will spur her on to practice tougher and added that she was grateful to have labored with Yu within the nationwide group final 12 months. 

“When I injured my back some time ago, she gave me advice on how to heal and she comforted me,” she stated. 

“She’s definitely one of the local players I look up to and I was not only able to watch her, but also train beside her, so that motivated me and I learnt a lot from her.”

Yu was additionally introduced with a $29,752.96 cheque for her function within the 2010 world championships win. The STTA had raised funds for the 5 group members because the competitors isn’t a part of the Singapore National Olympic Council’s Major Games Award Programme – an incentive scheme to reward medallists at main Games – with the funds disbursed on their retirement.

STTA president Ellen Lee paid tribute to the athletes and credited them and the coaches for his or her resilience and perseverance throughout the pandemic.

She stated: “Tonight was a special night and the STTA awards were handed out to pay tribute to these athletes and their coaches for fighting harder than usual and we applauded them for coming this far. We are extremely proud of them.”

STTA Award recipients

Star Player of the Year: Yu Mengyu
Youth Player of the Year: Izaac Quek
Coach of the Year: Hao Anlin
Special Award (Senior Category): Gao Ning, Clarence Chew
Special Award (Junior Category): Ser Lin Qian
Outstanding Zone Training Centre Award: Zhao Peng and Liu Peng (Toa Payoh Zone Training Centre coaches)

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