Singapore’s table tennis players bought from China crashed out of Olympics winning zero medals in the games. The Singapore team lost 1-3 to homegrown talents from Japan, with one of the Japanese players being only 15 years old at a height of only 1.5m.
Bought from China between 2007 and 2009, Singapore players Zhou Yi Han, Yu Meng Yu and Feng Tian Wei used to be the bronze medalists in 2012. Feng Tian Wei complained that the Japanese supporters present at the match were “a little overwhelming” which contributed to her loss.
Like other foreign athletes, the China-bought Singaporean players were given generous monthly allowance, lump sum bonuses, world-class training facilities, top coaches and of course the Singapore citizenship and National Service exemption (for males) under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme. Singaporean athletes however are not given support of such magnitude, with Olympic Gold medalist Joseph Schooling depending on his parents’ monies to train, and another Singaporean rower Saiyidah Aisyah resorting to public begging, or crowd funding, to enter the Olympics.
Former China Singaporean athlete Li Jia Wei has since returned to China, like several other foreign-bought Singaporeans. Most of the foreign Singaporean players do not know how to speak in English and integrate with the general Singaporean community.