TOKYO: Despite coming up against tougher opponents in both his first and second round match-ups, Singapore table tennis player Clarence Chew has never been one to shy away from a fight.
While the Singaporean will not leave the Games with a medal, he brings home a much needed lesson - that he can mix it up with the best.
Chew’s Olympic Games campaign came to a close on Sunday (Jul 24) as he lost 1-4 (7-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 10-12) to Austria’s Daniel Habesohn.
At the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Chew who is ranked 186th in the world, gave an excellent account of himself against an opponent who is in the world’s top 50.
Chew was hoping to upset a higher-ranked opponent for the second time in two days after beating Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw 4-2.
“Even against high-ranked and tough opponents, I think being able to match up with them (and that) gives me quite a boost in confidence,” said Chew after the match.
“Even though I'm lacking, I know that maybe it's not that far off. So, taking back all this from these two matches I can learn a lot and it gives me the confidence to work hard in the future.”
Chew started the match well, racing to a 3-0 lead. But his experienced Austrian opponent clawed the score back to 6-6, and took the first game 11-7.
The second game was even more tightly contested than the first as Chew kept himself in the game till late on when Habesohn pulled away to make it 11-9.
Chew refused to go down without a fight, and tried his best to keep pace with Habesohn in the third game. But the Austrian proved too strong as he won 11-8.
But the Singaporean fought back. He amassed a lead by as much as five points in the fourth game and kept his hopes alive with a 11-6 win.
And he continued that form into the next game, as he led by 6-3. But a series of mistakes saw Habesohn make a comeback before he took the game 12-10.
“I'm very happy to be playing here. I think I put on a good performance and it was a positive outing for me,” said Chew.
“I could learn a lot playing against all these top-level players but at the same time I could also see what I'm lacking, like for example today - the service and receive game, as well as footwork, in terms of power you can actually see the difference. That’s something I’ll have to work on back home.”
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