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Singapore’s men paddlers clinch table tennis gold

By Terence

Singapore Table Tennis wins...
By Ion Danker

Singapore’s men paddlers won their first gold medal in the history of its participation in the Commonwealth Games after defeating England 3-1 on Saturday.

Victory, however, did not come easy for Singapore’s Gao Ning, Yang Zi, Cai Xiaoli, Pang Xuejie and Ma Liang at the Yamuna Sports Complex.

In the first game, Gao Ning lost to Liam Pichford 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-13, before Yang Zi defeated Paul Drinkhall 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-1 in the second game to tie the series.

Ma Liang then defeated Andrew Baggaley 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 to put Singapore ahead in the third game and Gao Ning completed the comeback with a 9-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-7 victory over Drinkhall.

“The pressure was on the team to come back fighting after we went down in the first game. It was going to be an uphill battle after that but I knew we would fight all the way to the end. I am glad I made it up by winning the final game,” said a jubilant Gao Ning.

Head coach Yang Chuanning felt that the English were a tough team to beat. He said, “It was a battle from the start to the end. They never made it easy for us at all. But it’s good that our boys stuck to the battle plan and fought all the way to the end. Victory was sweet for all of us but credit to England for putting up a good fight.”

Singapore Table Tennis Association president Er Lee Bee Wah agreed. She said, “They did not make it easy for us at all and I am proud of the way we prevailed in the end. It was a nerve wrecking final and one which I will remember for a long time. We showed the virtues of total perseverance and came out on top. I am very proud of them but credit to England who gave us a tough battle.”

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