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Koen Reaches Top Of World
World Ranking: ITTF Boys U18
By Gail Chia
Senior Executive, Strategic Communications
Another milestone was made in Table Tennis on 30 August 2019 when Singapore Sports School student-athlete Koen Pang Yew En topped the ITTF Under 18 Boys Singles ranking list. He is the first Singaporean to do so.
Koen, formerly at No. 4, dislodged 18-year-old Russian Lev Katsman who had claimed the No. 1 spot for three consecutive months. The 17-year-old paddler’s achievement follows a silver-medal finish at the 2019 Hang Seng Hong Kong Junior and Cadet Open on 11 August. The tournament from 7 to 11 August is a Golden event in the International Table Tennis Federation’s 2019 World Junior Circuit. Koen’s previous best ranking in the age-group was World No. 2 in June and July 2019.
Koen will be making his Southeast Asian Games debut at the end of the year as part of a 4-strong men’s team featuring all local-born players. Singapore last fielded such a team for the regional Games was in 1997. Table Tennis Academy General Manager Dave Lai Chin Pang was part of the Jakarta 1997 SEA Games contingent.
Three out of four male paddlers selected for the Philippines 2019 SEA Games Table Tennis team are from the Sports School family – student-athletes Koen and Ethan Poh Shao Feng, and alumnus Clarence Chew Zhe Yu. The 30th SEA Games will be hosted mainly in Manila, Clark and Subic from 30 November to 11 December.
Other present and past student-athletes who have made it to the top of a world ranking include Yeo Jia Min (Badminton, BWF World Junior Girls Singles No. 1, 7 June 2018) and Amita Marie Nicolette Berthier (Fencing, FIE World Junior Girls Foil No. 1, 12 March 2019).