Singapore’s prized table tennis foreign talent Feng Tian Wei and Yu Meng Yu lost to the North Korea team in the World Team Table Tennis Championships today (4 Mar). The two new citizens bought from China were ranked 8th (Feng Tian Wei) and 32th (Yu Meng Yu), but the China-Singaporean duo lost to 20th (Ri Myong Sun) and 89th (Kim Song l).

The loss will see Singapore finish only at the 5th place at the world championships, instead of a 3rd place bronze a year ago.

Singapore’s current table tennis team including the coaches are almost fully bought from China. The government has met with sharp criticisms from Singaporeans who refuse to recognize the table tennis’s medals as all of them gained Singapore citizenship under a fast-tracked 2-year scheme.

Australian table tennis player William Henzell has previously criticised the Singapore squad. “They decided it was much easier and quicker to buy a team rather than produce a team.”

Despite being “Singaporeans” for coming close to a decade, Singapore’s China-bought players like Feng Tian Wei and Yu Meng Yu are unable to communicate in English and relied on translators when given English interviews.