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Commonwealth Games: Medals galore for Singapore paddlers

Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye take the top 3 spots in the table tennis women's singles tournament at the Commonwealth Games. Gao Ning and Li Hu win men's doubles gold.

SINGAPORE: It was a clean sweep for Singapore's paddlers in the table tennis women's singles tournament at the Commonwealth Games.

Singapore's top female paddler Feng Tianwei, the world number four, comfortably beat compatriot and second see Yu Mengyu in the final 11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-2.

In the earlier bronze medal match, Singapore's Lin Ye beat Australia's Lay Jian Fang 11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 to ensure an all-Singapore podium for the women's singles.

"To win all three medals is not easy," insisted their coach Jing Junhong. "Our two younger players Lin and Yu have raised their game to another level during the course of the competition. And Feng Tianwei has been an inspiration to the younger players. Next we will compete at the Asian Games, where the competition will be stronger. But this is definitely a good morale booster."

"I'm really happy I could defend my title after winning in Delhi," said Feng. "I had no specific strategies for this match, since we're already very familiar with each other."

Singapore's male paddlers had a fruitful day as well, securing both the gold and bronze medals in the doubles competition.

Gao Ning and Li Hu beat India's Sharath Kamal Achanta and Amalraj Anthony Arputharaj 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 to secure the gold, while Yang Zi and Zhan Jian edged out the English pairing of Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford 11-6, 12-10, 7-11, 8-11, 12-11 in the bronze medal play-off.

It sparked emotional scenes from Li who ran to the crowd at the end while for Gao it was the perfect response after losing to Kamal in the final four years ago.

"It's normal to win and lose in matches, but this time we got revenge," said Gao. "We were more familiar with the opponents this time."

But Singapore's control over the sport at Commonwealth Games level was not absolute after 15-year-old Tin-Tin Ho and partner Liam Pitchford of England earned a remarkable win over Feng and Zhan Jian in the mixed doubles by a 12-10, 11-8, 11-13, 6-11, 11-5 scoreline.

With Ho and Pitchford playing Joanna and Paul Drinkhall in the final, England are guaranteed the gold and silver medals putting an end to Singapore's stranglehold. "It's amazing, it's a dream, I've got no words really," said Ho, who has impressed throughout the Games with her tenacity and enthusiasm at such a young age. "We played really well together."

Singapore top seeds Gao and Zhan both safely made it through to Saturday's semi-finals of the men's singles where they will now play Pitchford of England and Kamal of India respectively on the final day of competition at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.

Elsewhere 52-year-old Li Chunli's competition is over after she lost in the women's quarter-finals with Karen Li to Feng and Yu to Feng and Yu who will contest for another medal with Drinkhall and Kelly Sibley, Lay Jiang Fang and Miao Miao and Anqi Luo and Mo Zhang.

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