THERE’S SOMETHING SMASHING ABOUT TABLE TENNIS

THERE’S SOMETHING SMASHING ABOUT TABLE TENNIS

The Singapore Smash 2022 elevated table tennis tournaments to a new level with its dramatic staging and top prize money.

(Photos courtesy of World Table Tennis)

Singapore Smash debuted at Singapore Sports Hub in 2022.
Not only was it the very first event of its type held in Singapore, but it was also the inaugural edition in the World Table Tennis (WTT) Grand Smash series. WTT Grand Smashes are prestigious events where top table tennis players face off to win US$2 million in prize money, as well as 2,000 world ranking points. 

In Singapore Smash 2022, Chen Meng regained her World No.1 position after beating Chinese compatriot Wang Manyu in the Women’s Singles final. In the Men’s Singles category, Fan Zhendong — also from China — secured his trophy by eking out a victory against Chinese legend Ma Long.
    

Table tennis fans supporting their sporting idols Fan Zhendong and Ma Long during Singapore Smash 2022.

Singapore does what it can to support our national table tennis players.
As any athlete knows, going pro involves numerous sacrifices — yet there’s no guarantee of success. Here in Singapore, our national paddlers have some help with school and training. Besides scholarships, preferential admission to Nanyang Technological University and a customised curriculum at the Singapore Sports School, as well as financing opportunities for university or further learning for local-born Olympians who’ve hung up their bats for good, the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) also offers full-time national paddlers a salary with Central Provident Fund contribution. 

Full-time Singapore-born national players who have represented the country for at least three continuous years and are now retired also receive access to the STTA National Team Endowment Fund, as a reward for the sacrifices made in their endeavour to bring glory to Singapore.   

The telecast of the National Day Rally speech was delayed in 2008 — because of table tennis. 
That year, the Singapore women’s table tennis team — comprising Li Jiawei, Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu — made it to the finals of the Beijing Olympics. As the match was scheduled to be played at same time as Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech, PM Lee made the unprecedented decision of postponing the broadcast of his own speech in English by a day. This allowed Singaporeans to cheer on the trio by catching the live telecast. Afterwards, PM Lee congratulated the team for bringing home the silver medal, declaring that they had done Singapore proud. 
    

Izaac Quek is a promising player to look out for in the local table tennis scene.

Singapore table tennis has a rising star in Izaac Quek.
He’s lean, he’s mean (at the table, that is) and he stunned the world in 2021 when he was just 15 — by beating a rival three years older at the WTT Youth Contender Szombathely Under-19 boys’ singles competition. Local paddler Izaac Quek had a very good season that year, having also risen months earlier to become the first Singaporean ever to be ranked No. 1 globally for players under 15. In 2022, Izaac made his Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham, England, winning both his matches at the group stage before being knocked out. 

The Singapore Sports School alumnus — who took part in his first senior competition at Singapore Smash 2022 — is definitely a young talent to look out for. 

There are many places to play table tennis in Singapore, including under HDB blocks.
You can book a table at numerous venues under SportSG, as well as at STTA’s own facilities and venues. Many of them are located at community clubs around the island. Some older HDB blocks also have table tennis tables at the void decks, free for anyone to play at. All you have to do is bring your own equipment, such as the balls, paddles and net. 

Check out this list of void deck tables, and if you need a little refresher on the rules, ActiveSG has a useful and detailed article on how to play. 

Singapore Sports Hub offers indoor, air-conditioned table tennis courts for booking.
Your opponent might raise an eyebrow when you claim the wind is responsible for messing up your serve. For those who need a world-class venue to play at their best, head down to the OCBC Arena at Singapore Sports Hub any day from 7am to 10pm. Just be sure to book first. 
    

Champions Chen Meng and Fan Zhendong will be at Singapore Smash 2023 to defend their titles.

Look out for the Singapore Smash Park at this year’s Singapore Smash.
Singapore Smash 2023 is happening from 11 to 19 March at the OCBC Arena in Singapore Sports Hub. Besides catching champions Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng defend their titles, you can also check out the Singapore Smash Park. There’ll be live entertainment and you’ll get to meet players at autograph and meet-and-greet sessions, while enjoying  various food and beverage options.

Singapore Smash 2023 isn’t just a table tennis competition — it’s an all-out celebration of one of the most popular sports in the world. Get your tickets here.

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