Singapore applauds Feng’s Olympic medal win

(L-R) China's Ding Ning, China's Li Xiaoxia and Singapore's Feng Tianwei pose with their medals after the women's singles table tennis tournament at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 1, 2012. Ding won silver, Li won gold and Feng took bronze. (Reuters photo)(L-R) China's Ding Ning, China's Li Xiaoxia and Singapore's Feng Tianwei pose with their medals after the women's …

Congratulations poured in for Singapore's Feng Tianwei, who did the country proud by winning the bronze medal Wednesday in women's singles table tennis at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

She demolished Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa 4-0 in the best-of-seven- match in 25 minutes Wednesday evening Singapore time. The scores: 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6.

(See slideshow of her victory here)

The bronze is the first Olympic medal won by Singapore since weightlifter  Tan Howe Liang bagged a silver medal at the 1960 Rome Games.

Singapore's President Tony Tan, who was among the 6,000 spectators watching the match at London's ExCel Arena, lauded Feng for her sterling performance.

"Tianwei's victory today is a historic day for Singapore table tennis and for Singapore sport. I think what Tianwei has achieved today shows what is possible. I hope it will inspire more young Singaporeans to aspire to do likewise," he told The Straits Times.

The President was joined at the stands by his wife and Deputy Prime Minister and Singapore National Olympic Council president Teo Chee Hean.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also congratulated Feng and Team Singapore for their good showing in a Facebook posting on Wednesday night.

"Congrats to Tianwei for a resounding 4-0 win over Ishikawa of Japan. Singapore's first individual Olympic medal in 52 years! We are all proud of you," he said. "And well done Team Singapore!"

He also cited other Singapore athletes at the Games: Lim Heem Wei, the country's first gymnast to gain direct entry into the Games; Helena Wong, the nation's first woman Olympic weightlifter; and Tao Li, who set a new national record for the 100m backstroke.

"Keep flying the Singapore flag high. To those who are still competing, we are behind you all the way," he said.

Cheers for Singapore's Olympic victory in women's singles table tennis. (TV screenshot)Cheers for Singapore's Olympic victory in women's singles table tennis. (TV screenshot)

On Twitter, local actress Melody Chen said, "Woohoo!!! Congrats to Feng Tian Wei!! Thank you for giving #Singapore an Olympic bronze medal! #London2012"

On Yahoo! Singapore's Facebook page, user Sebastian Lim wrote, "It maybe bronze but to be third in the world in really something to crow about! Well done Ms Feng and please keep the Singapore flag flying high come the team event. And it's a great birthday present for the country as its birthday is just eight glorious days away. Majulah Singapura!"

Grumblings over 'foreign talent'

The reaction to Feng's win was overwhelmingly positive. Some Singaporeans, however, did not revel in the victory, saying that Feng is not a "true-blue" Singaporeans as she originally hails from China.

Facebook user Ex Pow wrote, "ok. congrats for her. From now on, no more imports please. Give the locals a chance. The foreign coaches should train up the locals. Not taking the easy way out."

User Wong Teng said, "I rather Singapore government nurture our true-blue Singaporean and represent in Olymipics although they would not win in Olympics."

Responding to some of the negative comments, some users defended Feng and pointed out she deserved praise for her performance and hard work. For taking home the bronze, Feng will receive S$250,000 under Singapore's Multi-Million Dollar Awards Program (MAP).

"Anyway, taxpayers $ or not, china born or not.... Feng put in thousands of hours of sheer hard work to work her way to bronze. She didn't get it via some Mont Blanc pen or other gifts. For that, she deserves every penny of the award money she's receiving," said Facebook user TF Long.

In a comment, Andrew Lim asked his fellow Singaporeans to stop complaining "if you can play better than FTW. She has done us proud!"