The Queen & I

Isabelle Li Looks Back At Her Encounter Against Feng Tianwei

By Cheong Wei Ming
Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images for SSC

The queen played her potential successor and came away the big winner but that did nothing to take away the joy of the vanquished. For paddler Isabelle Li knew she had come away a better player. Never mind that she had lost, not unexpectedly, to the highly seasoned Feng Tianwei in the final of the women’s singles at this SEA Games.

Gulf In Standards

A modest figure at the GMSB Kuningan Sports Hall A in Jakarta, Isabelle, ranked 150th in the world, found Feng, the world Number 4 and defending champion, way too strong. She lost 3-11, 4-11, 9-11, 5-11, a result which showed the gulf in standards between the two.

Cherish Every Moment

But she looked at things differently. “It was a great honour to play against Tianwei. The final really did not come easy so I told myself I had to cherish every moment. It was a process that I really enjoyed,” she said.

A Lot Of Promise

She could also take comfort from the encouraging words of her opponent. On Isabelle, Tianwei said, “She has a lot of promise, and I hope she can be my successor one day.” Asked what the young paddler must do to get better, she added, “Her attack strategies need to be improved, and I hope she can improve with more training in future.”

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