Olympic debut wins for Clarence Chew, Kiria Tikana: Team Singapore at Tokyo 2020 [Day 1]

Table Tennis' Clarence Chew progresses to Round 2, Fencing's Kiria Tikanah loses to World No. 1, Rower Joan Poh through to semis

Image credit: Singapore National Olympic Council

24 July 2021, Tokyo - Following a pared down Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games last night at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, which saw Team Singapore flag bearers Loh Kean Yew and Yu Mengyu lead a 23-strong athlete contingent into the XXXII Olympiad, four of Team Singapore's athletes were in the thick of the action on Day 1.

Image credit: SportSG via Luis Acosta/ AFP


The day started with rower Joan Poh in the Women's Single Sculls Repechage 1 at 8:00am, and the 30 year-old rower and nurse did not disappoint, booking her place in the semi-finals with a timing of 8:40.06, finishing 4th out of 5th in her event.

The semi-finals will be held tomorrow, 25 July 2021. Poh had earlier finished 6th out of 6th in Heat 2 on Day 0 of the Games, with a timing of 8:31.12

Image credit: Kong Chong Yew, SNOC


The morning was then shortly after followed by Adele Tan, Team Singapore's only shooting representative at the Tokyo Games, competing in the Women's 10m Air Rifle Qualification event.

Tan put in an admirable showing but finished with a score of 625.3, coming in 21st out of 50, and did not advance to the finals.

Image credit: Kong Chong Yew, SNOC


Arguably the most enthralling piece of action on the first day happened at the Makuhari Messe Hall in the Women's Sabre Fencing event, which saw Kiria Tikanah win her first bout at her maiden Olympic Games, upsetting Hong Kong's Coco Lin, who ranks 90th in the world, 15-11 in a table of 64.

Kiria then came up against World No. 1 Ana Maria Popescu in the table of 32 bout, and despite sitting 206 ranks below her Romanian opponent, put up a strong showing to pull the score back to 10-11.

Experience told however, and the 21 year-old Singaporean eventually lost the bout 10-15 to the two-time Olympic medalist.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Kiria said: "When the score was 11-10, I knew I stood a chance against one of the world’s best," she said. "I wasn’t too fussed about losing the match… being able to share the (stage) with world champions was a really amazing experience."


Image credit: Kong Chong Yew, SNOC

Over in table tennis, Clarence Chew made his Olympic Games bow with a nail biting 4-2 victory over Senegal's Diaw Ibrahima at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Showing some signs of nerves, Chew made a bright start to take the first set 11-4, but slipped up in the second to lose 4-11, before three of the next few sets (11-3, 13-11, 3-11, 12-10) to book a place in the second round of the Men's Singles competition.

Chew will next play against Habesohn Daniel of Austria, with the match set to be played tomorow.

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