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Published: Thursday December 19, 2013 MYT 5:06:00 PM
Updated: Thursday December 19, 2013 MYT 5:08:25 PM

Lee Wei leads table tennis team to bronze

Beh Lee Wei returns a shot to Thailand's  Komwong Nathana in the table tennis team event on Dec 19, 2013. Malaysia lost to the Thais 3-1 to win the bronze medal.

Beh Lee Wei returns a shot to Thailand's Komwong Nathana in the table tennis team event on Dec 19, 2013. Malaysia lost to the Thais 3-1 to win the bronze medal.

NAYPYITAW: Veteran paddler Beh Lee Wei returned to this year’s SEA Games for one last time with the intention of presenting her baby girl with the cute and chubby Owl mascot given out at the medals ceremony.

And the 30-year-old Lee Wei, who is also the country’s table tennis chief coach, kept her promise to her 20-month-old baby Choo Ke Ying when she won a bronze medal in her last SEA Games outing on Thursday.

Malaysia, led by Lee Wei, put on a fighting display before going down 3-1 to Thailand in the semi-finals.

Lee Wei, who has played in every SEA Games since the 1999 edition in Brunei but skipped the last Games in Jakarta because she was pregnant with her first child, contributed the solitary point for the team.

She defeated Komwong Nathana 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 but all her charges, who are teenagers, lost their respective matches – but not before putting up a good fight.

Her team-mates are Ho Ying, Lee Rou You and Angeline Tang An Qi, who competed in last year’s Malaysia Games (Sukma).

“I have won a medal although it is a bronze. Now I can give my baby the mascot – either the male (Shwe Ye) or the female one (Ma Moe) that will be given out during the medals ceremony,” she laughed.

Lee Wei, however, knows that if not for a lack of experience, her team-mates could have nicked the silver medal.

“We had some good opportunities but the girls could not finish off the game. They played beyond my expectations but they lack experience,” she said.

“If only Ng Sock Khim (national No. 2) was here, we could have turned the tables but she is down with a knee injury.”

The 13-time national champion Lee Wei said that she would pass the baton on to the younger players after the SEA Games.

“This is my last SEA Games ... I am not changing my mind again. I quit the game after giving birth but the management asked me to come back, at least until next year’s Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow). I said okay.

“I am ready to leave because we have a good batch of players who can take over. All they need now is a lot of training and exposure and I will do my best to groom them,” she said.

Lee Wei’s job at the SEA Games is still not over as on Friday, she will begin her campaign in the women’s singles event.

“I have played in so many SEA Games but I have returned from every single one with a bronze medal. It would be nice to go back with a silver. It will be tough though with the Singaporeans around,” she admitted.

The Singaporeans, banking on all their China import players, are expected to sweep all the four gold medals at stake.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian men’s team led by reigning national champion Mohd Shakirin Ibrahim also had to settle for a bronze medal after losing 0-3 to Thailand on Thursday. 

Tags / Keywords: table tennis, SEA Games, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, Beh Lee Wei

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