STTA president, Ellen Lee and former national paddler, Feng Tian Wei
By Kannan Raj
For a sport which has garnered medals from the Olympics since 2008 for Singapore, the last week has been very newsworthy, taking the limelight away from the awfully managed Football Association of Singapore which has hogged headlines.
First came the announcement by the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) that Singaporean foreign sports talent and top-ranked paddler Feng Tianwei was dropped from the national women’s team in the interest of rejuvenation and youth development.
However, that same evening the government agency Sport Singapore issued a statement which said that the agency would “discuss the option of supporting her under the spexScholarship scheme and the performance targets and milestones expected of her.”
With many online commentators wondering why the Olympian was dropped unceremoniously, a few media outlets followed up a day later with reports of what seemed like indiscipline, dishonesty and disrespect.
Among the allegations leveled against Feng were that there was a dispute over prize money which came about after last year’s SEA Games.

Feng, who has earned about $3 million since becoming a citizen in 2007, had refused to pay her share of her winnings from the Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme meant for the coaches — an amount of $400 and she instigated other team members not to pay.

There was also an issue of false claims amounting to a few hundred dollars submitted by the player for reimbursement of food purchases, with handwritten receipts submitted by Feng questioned by the STTA management. She had apparently purchased 200 eggs for breakfast over nine days, and 10 tins of milk over three days. Feng was eventually issued a warning by the STTA, and the cash was returned to the association. 

However, in response to the stories over the last few days, Feng said that “over the past few days, there have been inaccurate reports which attacked my character and caused very bad reactions.”

There are also threats that she would seek legal recourse against the said publications which published the stories. 

Legal action may not be a bad thing, because only in court will all the gory details be released by all parties, so that the public can know for real what exactly transpired. Think National Kidney Foundation and City Harvest Church.

In the meantime, Sport Singapore needs to explain how, as custodians of public funds, and since Feng Tianwei is a spexScholar receiving monies from the taxpayer, has allowed a player like her to continue despite the allegations being levelled against her. It is also disturbing that the government agency seems to condone her behaviour. 

Who is Sport Singapore more intent on protecting? The taxpayers or what seems to be a foreign sports talent who has grown too big for her breeches?

Does Sport Singapore accept and condone her actions, since it is clear that they are aware of the issues at hand? 

What kind of signals is the government agency sending to other National Sports Associations and athletes? 

That it is alright to break away from the sports associations which are the administrators of the sport because there’s always a shelter for athletes at the Singapore Sports Institute? 

Is the government agency taking over the role of a National Sport Association when it should actually be allowing them to manage their own sports?

The STTA on its part should also have a backbone and stand up for what it believes in, since it took such drastic action to drop her from the team.

As stated earlier, perhaps a legal battle would be best to reveal the truth.

As of now, it all just seems like a monumental cover-up without getting to the root of the issue.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments