Zeng Jian earns top STTA award after breakout medal-winning year

National women's paddler clinched two golds at Commonwealth Games and four medals at SEA Games

Winners at the STTA Annual Awards: (from left) Zhou Jingyi, Zeng Jian and Loy Ming Ying. (PHOTO: STTA)
Winners at the STTA Annual Awards: (from left) Zhou Jingyi, Zeng Jian and Loy Ming Ying. (PHOTO: STTA)

SINGAPORE — With veteran paddlers Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu either mulling retirement or already retired, the Singapore woman's table tennis team is undergoing a period of transition.

As a new generation of young talents try to take over the mantle from Feng and Yu, the brightest spark has come from Zeng Jian, who was awarded the Player of the Year for 2022 by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) on Wednesday (8 February).

The 26-year-old has had a breakout year, winning two golds (women's team and women's doubles), one silver and one bronze at last year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. She also clinched three silvers and one bronze at the SEA Games in Hanoi.

"Last year was a challenging year for me, as I had to deal with the pressure of getting good results for the national team in the major Games," Zeng told Yahoo News Singapore after receiving her honour at the STTA Annual Awards ceremony at One Farrer Hotel.

"Fortunately, I had a lot of help and encouragement from my coaches and teammates, and managed to earn a few medals for Singapore. This year, there will be more important competitions, and hopefully I can continue to improve myself and help the team towards better results."

The Young Player of the Year award went to Zhou Jingyi, who was the youngest member of the women's national team that reached the quarter-finals of the World Table Tennis Championships in Chengdu last year. The 17-year-old also helped the team clinched a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

The STTA Hopes Player of the Year Award - given to the best-performing young paddler aged 13 and below - went to 12-year-old Loy Ming Ying, who clinched a gold, a silver and a bronze on her debut at the Southeast Asia Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships.

National men's team coach Gao Ning earned the Coach of the Year honours, while men's paddler Clarence Chew and women's team coach Jing Junhong were also given special awards.

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