Koen Pang caps stellar year with SEA Games men's singles gold

Singapore paddler Koen Pang raises his arms in triumph after beating compatriot Clarence Chew for the men's singles gold at the SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore)

SINGAPORE — National table tennis player Koen Pang has capped a stellar year by claiming the men’s singles gold at the SEA Games on Tuesday (10 December).

The 17-year-old beat compatriot – and one-time role model – Clarence Chew, 24, in the all-Singaporean final in straight sets 11-5, 11-7, 11-7, 12-10 to clinch the gold on his debut Games outing.

It is also the first time a locally-born Singaporean has won gold in the men’s singles. Past winners Duan Yongjun (1999), Zhan Jian (2013) and Gao Ning (2007, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017) were all China-born paddlers.

Earlier this year, Pang won three titles at the National Table Tennis Grand Finale in January, and became the first Singaporean paddler to reach the world junior No. 1 spot in August.

Singapore paddler Koen Pang serving during the SEA Games men's singles final against compatriot Clarence Chew. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore)

He had teamed up with Josh Chua to win a silver medal in the men’s doubles competition earlier in the Games, losing in the final to Vietnamese duo of Doan Ba Tuan Anh and Nguyen Anh Tu.

In the men’s singles earlier on Tuesday, he survived a seven-set semi-final against Thailand’s Padasak Tanviriyavechakul, coming back from 0-3 down to stun the 23-year-old Thai 7-11, 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9.

There was also joy for Singapore in the women’s singles, as Lin Ye – a last-minute replacement at the Games for the injured Yu Mengyu – won gold after her more illustrious compatriot Feng Tianwei retired with injury with the score at 6-11, 11-1.

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