07 Aug 2022

The reaction when standing on the top step of the podium underlined the importance of the moment

Emotional, on Sunday 7th August, at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, unable to hold back the tears as they welled in her eyes, stood proudly on the top step of the podium; once again the women’s singles gold medallist.

Regaining the title won in 2010 in New Delhi and retained in 2014 in Glasgow, but having to settle for bronze four years ago in Gold Coast, was no doubt one of the reasons for the heartfelt scene.

Another was in the final, she had been required to recover from what appeared imminent defeat against her compatriot, 25-year-old Zeng Jian. She lost the first three before experience told to record a full distance seven games success (6-11, 5-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5).

Reasons for the emotion and could there be a third? Is Birmingham the swansong for Feng Tianwei; in 2026 when the multi-sport gathering is held in the Victorian State of Australia, she will celebrate her 40th birthday.

The women’s singles podium: Zeng Jian, Feng Tianwei, Liu Yangzi (Photo: Owen Hammond)


A hard fought contest to determine the top prize; it was the same to decide the next step of the podium. Australia’s Liu Yangzi overcame India’s Sreeja Akula to secure bronze (3-11, 11-6, 11-2, 7-11, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7).

Gold Coast Repeat

Title regained, there was also title retained in a repeat of the Gold Coast men’s doubles final.

Four years ago, England’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford reserved the top step of the podium at the final expense of India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran. They succeeded in a full distance five games contest (11-5, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8); in Birmingham it was same again (8-11, 11-8, 11-3, 7-11, 11-4).

Once again the top step of the podium for Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford (Photo: Owen Hammond)


Gold for England, silver for India, it was bronze for Singapore; in the third place contest Clarence Chew and Ethan Poh Shao Feng overcame Australia’s Nicholas Lum and Finn Luu (11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5).


First for India

Disappointment for India but there was success.

Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sreeja Akula combined the win the mixed doubles, at the final hurdle overcoming Malaysia’s Javen Choong and Karen Lyne (11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6).

The top step of the podium for India, it was the third step for Singapore; in the bronze medal match, Clarence Chew and Zeng Jian accounted for Australia’s Nicholas Lum and Jee Minhyung (11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 14-12).

Notably it was the first time in the history of table tennis events at the Commonwealth Games when an Indian pairing had secured the mixed doubles title.

The mixed doubles podium: Javen Choong, Karen Lyne, Sharath Kamal Achanta, Sreeja Akula, Clarence Chew, Zeng Jian


Furthermore, it means that Sharath Kamal Achanta now has the full complement of titles – men’s team (2006, 2018, 2022), men’s singles (2006), men’s doubles (2010), mixed doubles (2022).

The only other player to achieve the feat is Singapore’s Gao Ning – men’s team (2010), men’s singles (2018), men’s doubles (2014), mixed doubles (2018).

No female player has won all four counterpart titles.


Landmark win for Wales

Memorable moments and one in particular for Wales; a first ever gold medal in the table tennis events at a Commonwealth Games.

In 2002 in Manchester, Ryan Jenkins and Adam Robertson came perilously close. At the final hurdle, they were beaten by England’s Andrew Baggaley and Gareth Herbert in a titanic five games duel (11-9, 11-13, 8-11, 11-9, 17-15).

Two decades later Joshua Stacey went one step better.

Arguably, the final in Manchester can be considered the closest ever in the table tennis events at the Commonwealth Games; the final in Birmingham the one that produced the biggest upset.

The 22-year-old won men’s singles class 8-10; in the gold medal contest he beat Australia’s Ma Lin, gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in a gripping five games encounter (25-23, 5-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5).

Just under one year ago, in men’s singles class 9 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Joshua Stacey had mustered just 13 points when losing to Ma Lin (11-3, 11-4, 11-6) in the group stage!

“I feel like I’ve shown that I’m capable of winning more titles. Ma Lin has a better head-to-head record than me and the fact that I could beat him knowing that he usually beats me, I don’t see why I can’t go on and win more major titles. It is definitely my goal in the future.” Joshua Stacey

To say the least, that’s improvement!

Joshua Stacey, Welsh hero (Photo: Owen Hammond)


Furthermore, for the Welshman it was two steps higher than in Gold Coast when securing bronze; for England’s Ross Wilson, the winner on that occasion it was two steps lower, he beat Nigeria’s Tajudeen Agubiade (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 15-17, 11-6) to reserve the podium’s third step.

Play concludes on Monday 8th August with the women’s doubles and men’s singles medal matches.




General News Para Table Tennis Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games