By Tan Yo-Hinn
NATIONAL table tennis star Li Jiawei (picture) is not planning on calling it a day just yet. On Saturday, it was revealed that the 27-year-old is set to tie the knot after registering her marriage to a Chinese businessman in Beijing on Sept 26.
Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) also confirmed yesterday that Li has indicated her desire to continue her career. He said: “She has assured us she wants to continue her Olympic dream (in 2012). We are all very happy for her (on her registering her marriage) as she has sacrificed a lot for the country.”
Li had earlier expressed interest in pursuing a degree, and Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Lee Bee Wah told Today that her association and the Singapore Sports Council are prepared to offer the five-time Sportswoman of the Year a scholarship to further her studies in China.
“STTA are prepared to offer her a scholarship if she wants to study in a Beijing university,” she said. “She has our blessings.”
The Beijing-born Li, who is currently in the Chinese capital, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
She first came to Singapore in 1996 under the STTA’s Foreign Sports Talent scheme, and became a citizen in 1999. In August, she was part of the silver medal-winning women’s team that ended Singapore’s 48-year Olympic medal drought at August’s Beijing Games.
Li had met Teo and STTA officials recently to assess her and the team’s performance at the Olympics and to discuss her future plans. But it is understood her wedding will not be held any time soon as she wants to concentrate on several upcoming competitions first.
According to local media reports, Li was introduced to her fiance, who also shares the same surname, by a mutual friend in March.
Li split with her boyfriend of over five years, national badminton star Ronald Susilo, in January. Susilo, 29, threatened legal action in April to get his share of the apartment and car they co-owned. The issue was recently settled out-of-court.
Li’s fiance, who is in his 30s, visited her in Singapore several times to help her through that difficult patch.