Just one place available for South-East Asia at the continental qualification staged in Doha, Qatar in mid-March, the verdict went to Singapore’s Clarence Chew.
He will be on duty in the men’s singles event at the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, play commencing in the Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday 24th July.
In Doha, responding to the occasion, in the group stage Clarence Chew commenced matters by overcoming John Russel Misal of the Philippines (11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5), before upsetting the order of preference. He accounted for Thailand’s Padasak Tanviriyavechakul, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7).
Different to Clarence Chew, Padasak Tanviriyavechakul had Olympic experience; he competed in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games and at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Impressively, Clarence Chew completed his group matches with success against Indonesia’s Deepash Bhagwani (16-14, 11-2, 13-11, 11-8), to book his semi-final place. The good form continued, he ousted Indonesia’s Rafanael Nikola Nima (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4), prior to accounting for colleague and top seed, Pang Yew En Koen (11-7, 11-7, 15-13, 11-4).
Clarence Chew becomes the sixth male player to represent Singapore at an Olympic Games.
Defeat for Pang Yew En Koen but that bodes well for Singapore; Clarence Chew is 25 years old and surely we can expect him to be a key player for the national team in the foreseeable future. However, Pang Yew En Koen is only 19 years of age.
Now, medals at Olympic Games may be a distant dream but what about next year, the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the English city of Birmingham?
At the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Pang Yew En Koen and Ethan Po finished in the unenviable fourth place in the men’s doubles event. They were beaten in the bronze medal match by India’s Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shetty (11-5, 11-6, 12-10).
Introduce Clarence Chew into the equation and can we expect better in Birmingham, even a successor to Gao Ning; in Gold Coast he won the men’s singles title.
Editor: Ian Marshall