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Commonwealth Games: Feng backs Singapore for table tennis gold

Feng Tianwei insists Singapore can be confident of repeating their dominance in table tennis at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

GLASGOW: Feng Tianwei insists Singapore can be confident of repeating their dominance in table tennis at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. World number four Feng is the strong favourite to retain the women's singles title she won four years ago, when Singapore collected six gold and five silvers from a total of 24 medals on offer.

The 27-year-old was the flag bearer for her country at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, where she won two bronze medals, two years ago. She is comfortable in her role as team leader and expects the team to be successful in Scotland.

She told AFP: "I have been leading the women's team for several years. For this Commonwealth Games, we have a new team but the confidence is high and our younger players have shown a lot of fighting spirit. I believe that the younger players are able to deal with the pressure and perform their best. I hope we can continue our success at the Games."

In the men's event, Singapore's Gao Ning, beaten by fellow countryman Yang Zi in the final four years ago, is also confident he can live up to expectations. The Singapore team have been gearing up for Glasgow in Linz, Austria, where they have been training for six hours a day, and world number 12 Gao feels ready.

"We have been sparring with players of specific playing styles in preparation for the games," Gao told AFP. "We have been busy training and in such a way where we are prepared for every scenario, positive or negative. There will definitely be pressure at any competition but I am confident and prepared and we hope to repeat Singapore's success at the Commonwealth Games."

India's best ever player Sharath Kamal Achanta, winner of the singles and team gold in 2006 and doubles in 2010, is determined that the Singapore team will not have it all their own way. Kamal, currently ranked 44th in the world, is confident of adding to his total haul of five Commonwealth Games medals.

He told AFP: "The Commonwealth Games has always been important for India especially for table tennis as this is one place where we can win medals. Usually in the Olympic Games and Asian Games we are not in contention but in the Commonwealth Games we stand a good chance to win even the gold medal.

"Singapore are the best in the business in the Commonwealth Games and they are quite strong players but nevertheless I would be able to give them a run for their money. I would really like to win back the gold from the mighty Singaporeans but I will have to play to the best of my abilities every time I face them. I am hoping to take back at least one gold medal home along with me this time."

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