SINGAPORE: The Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) has terminated the contract of men’s national player Li Hu following a disciplinary committee hearing on Monday night (Oct 24).
The three-person committee, chaired by STTA vice-president Lim Soon Hock, reached a unanimous decision to sack Li, following repeated breaches of the association’s Code of Conduct.
The disciplinary investigation found that Li had displayed insolence, insubordination and continued to violate house rules despite verbal warnings. This pertained to the 28-year-old misconduct in bringing a female guest to his dormitory on several occasions.
Reports last week indicate that Li, who is ranked 58th in the world, had already been evicted from the STTA hostel where he had been staying.
According to the STTA, the decision to terminate Li’s contract was also based on his track record with the association during his employment, noting that the player had also other disciplinary issues throughout his tenure.
Li had in fact been issued a final warning letter in January for another indiscretion, and he was also informed by writing that any further misconduct will warrant a termination of his employment.
Said Lim, in a statement issued by STTA: “The STTA does not tolerate indiscipline. Li Hu’s repeated breaches of the Code of Conduct is a cause of serious concern to the STTA. His insubordination is unacceptable and is not tolerated.”
Last week, it was reported that Li is assisting the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in a case of alleged attempted bribery said to be related to his disciplinary troubles.
When queried, CPIB declined to provide further information, saying in a statement to Channel NewsAsia: "Due to the nature of our work, we will not confirm or deny whether any individual or identity is being investigated for corrupt practices."
A former world junior champion, Hubei native Li arrived in Singapore in 2010 and became a citizen the next year. Once ranked as high as 26th in the world, he is seen as the natural successor to veterans Gao Ning and Yang Zi.
In 2014, he partnered Gao to a bronze medal in the men’s doubles at the Asian Games in Incheon, and to gold in the same event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Li and Gao also won men’s doubles gold at the 2015 SEA Games.
But Singapore table tennis has suffered a dip in fortunes of late, with the men’s team failing to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, while the women’s team returned empty-handed for the first time since the 2008 Games.