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Making presence felt, meteoric progress

Saturday 12 September

Making presence felt, meteoric progress

Wang Yuegu hit the headlines at the Liebherr 2010 World Team Championships in Moscow when she proved integral to Singapore’s surprise women’s gold medal triumph. Notably in the final against China, in the second match of the fixture she overcame Liu Shiwen

However, less than five years earlier, it was a very different situation, she was unknown.

In June 2005 her name did not appear anywhere on any order of merit; the following month she made her first appearance at no.59; when the lists were published in early August she had progressed to no.24. In September she moved up one place to no.23, in October she was listed at no.21.

The reason for the meteoric progress was a series of fine performances on the ITIF Pro Tour (now the ITTF World Tour). The first appearance was in June where she reached the quarter-finals of the women's singles event in the Korea Republic before losing to Li Jia Wei; the second, the very next week at the TMS Chinese Taipei Open. Coincidentally, she experienced the same result, a quarter­final defeat at the hands of Li Jia Wei.

In Fort Lauderdale the ensuing month she went one step further losing to Tie Yana in the semis but she did raise the spectators' eyebrows; in the opening round she overcame Kim Kyungah, who at the time was the most successful player on the ITTF Pro Tour, having won in Korea, Brazil and Chile.

Two quarter-finals and one semi­final in a space of less than two months; for a player whose name did not appear on the World Ranking list when she entered the Volkswagen Open Korea, it was quite some feat.

In September, the exits in the women's singles events were earlier than in the summer months but all were against quality opponents.

At the Panasonic China Open in Harbin she lost in the round of the last 32 to Peng Luyang, whilst at the Volkswagen Open China in Shenzhen and at the Volkswagen Open Japan in Yokohama it was the round of the last 16 that saw her departure. In Shenzhen, she suffered, losing 12-14 in the seventh game to Lau Sui Fei, whilst in Yokohama it was Guo Yan who halted progress.

"Winning is important but honesty is more important", Wang Yuegu explained. "Lose but next time you come back stronger and win."

Most certainly Wang Yuegu followed her own advice. Always she gave total commitment, always she upheld the ideals of sport, it brought her success; most importantly, it helped bring Singapore success, unprecedented success, a place in the history books.

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