SINGAPORE: Olympic medallist Feng Tianwei will continue to stay in Singapore and still wants to represent the country in table tennis, despite being dropped from the national team.
In a statement written in Mandarin to the media on Friday (Oct 28), Feng said: “I hope I have the ability to improve the table tennis scene in Singapore and to show everyone that the support from the Singapore Government will reap benefits."
The statement comes three days after the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) announced a new strategy, and said she was not part of its line-up. Describing the announcement as "abrupt", Feng said she needed time to compose herself before responding.
“It's been nearly 10 years since I've started representing Singapore in 2007," she reflected. "In that time, I've achieved results such as winning the World Table Tennis Championships, clinching Olympic medals and standing on the world’s most prestigious podiums.
“These have helped me achieve my childhood dreams as well as to fly the Singapore flag high at international competitions," she added. "These achievements cannot be separated from the strong support of the Singapore Government, Sports Council, Singapore National Olympic Council, STTA, etc. I express my sincere thanks to them."
Moving forward, Feng revealed that she will hire a coach and train harder to work on her craft. “I hope for a fairer and more transparent way to take part in international competitions,” said Feng. “I hope to take part in the 2020 Olympics and win more medals for Singapore and clinch my fourth Olympic medal.”
She also said she was "shocked" by reports that alleged that she was axed after various run-ins with the STTA, and that she was called out for "false claims". "In recent days, the untruthful reports in a few newspapers have attacked my integrity ... When I was under contract with STTA, I did not cheat in financial matters or do anything illegal."
She added that she has consulted a lawyer on these "false allegations". The STTA had also said while she was cautioned about the proper claiming procedure, she "did not falsify nor claim more than what she was permitted".
The 30-year-old thanked supporters and friends in the media for giving her space and support. “I'm a Singaporean. It's my honour to be able to continue to contribute to Singapore's achievements. 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,” Feng added.