Photo of Yu Meng Yu from Reuters

For the first time, Singapore’s table tennis team was completely wiped out in the round of 16s during the World Table Tennis Championship. All Singapore athletes bought from China lost all their rounds and are now only eligible for 13th-24th positions.

The women’s team of Feng Tian Wei, Yu Meng Yu, Lin Ye and Zhang Wan Lin – all bought from China – lost to China 1-3, Chinese Taipei 0-3, Belarus 2-3 then to Ukraine 2-3. The men’s team did not win a single match.

Singapore’s table tennis team is formed using free citizenship and lucrative contracts under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme (FSTS). Although the newly-bought athletes brought Singapore a number of medals in the first few years, they were unable to keep up with the performance. A few, like Li Jia Wei, have retired and returned back to China – confirming the Singaporean public’s suspicions that these foreigners are only competing for the prize money and contracts offered by the Singapore government.

The Singapore government claimed that the FSTS will allow foreign sports talents to transfer their skills to Singaporeans. However, after more than 25 years since it was first introduced in 1993, Singapore’s sports scene became worse than before. Singapore’s soccer, swimming and table tennis national teams are either at bottom-scrapping ranking or heavily reliant on foreign players.

The current Singapore Table Tennis Association President is former PAP MP Ellen Lee and it’s vice-president current PAP MP Alex Yam.