Tan Paey Fern
At only nine years old, Tan Paey Fern was casually playing table tennis with her brother and some friends when she was spotted by ex-National Table Tennis Coach, Mr. Foo Soo Peng. From that point on, Foo became her mentor in her persona life and throughout her table tennis career. Although Tan’s coaching began with the basics, she soon realised that the other players being coached at the same time were from the National Team.
Tan Paey Fern was a very determined young girl. When she decided to give up her studies to practice table tennis, her worried parents soon gave their full support when they realised she was deadly serious about the sport. Tan practised table tennis at every opportunity, occasionally helping her parents out in their shop. Her skills vastly improved, and she soon turned semi-professional, becoming a full-time professional player in 1993.
From her first Women’s Team gold medal at the Golden Racket Table Tennis Tournament in 1996, Tan proved a valuable asset to the team. Tan was on the Women’s Team that won the golds in the 1997 Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships and again in the Golden Racket Table Tennis Tournament. In 1999, in the SEA Games, she again won the Women’s Team gold.
In 2000, Tan took the Women’s Team gold in the Southeast Asian Table Tennis Championships and the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships. In 2001, for the third time she won her Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship gold and also took the Women’s Team gold in the SEA Games. In 2002 at the Commonwealth Games, the Women’s Team again won the gold medal with Tan Paey Fern picking up bronze medals in Ladies Singles and Ladies doubles. In 2003, her Women’s Team gold medal came in the SEA Games and she claimed a silver medal in mixed doubles.
At the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006, Tan Paey Fern and the Women’s Team won yet another gold. In Ladies Doubles, Tan won a silver medal with partner Xu Yan and in mixed doubles she took a bronze medal with partner Jason Ho.
Given the illustrious performance of the Women’s Team, it’s not surprising that Tan Paey Fern and her team mates have won Sports Team of Year six times. In 2005, Tan also won Team of the Year for an event for her doubles playing with Zhang Xueling. It’s somehow fitting that Tan has won on her involvement with the team. Tan is not into fame and glory. She’s just glad that her hard work has paid off.