Singapore stunned China to win the 2010 Women’s World Team Table Tennis Championships in Moscow. The Chinese women won the championship for eight consecutive times prior to the defeat and were hot favourites to retain the title.
Singaporean media are delighted with this, but not all Singaporeans are sharing the joy because of the fact that all their representatives were born in China and converted their citizenship under Singapore’s Foreign Sports Talent Scheme.
I used to be one of those sceptics about these schemes (when I was much younger), but see it in a more positive light as age grows. From individual perspective it’s nothing wrong to look for opportunities elsewhere if the current environment doesn’t offer much. It’s same in any career, professional athletes included.
It’s understandable that many Singaporeans are not sharing the pride, but the girls did nothing wrong, it’s appalling to see the hate they are getting in some forums. The problem is with the scheme itself, not those who seize the chance. And mind that the ladies have to work hard to win a world title, regardless of personal agenda.
As for the supporters of the scheme there’s a bit of irony too. You are happy to see your country doing well with this method, but things could get really awkward when their achievement becomes “too” significant… for example, winning the country’s first gold medal at the Olympic Games, which seems a realistic thing in near future.