After the Olympics, there was quite a bit of controversy here in Singapore about the table-tennis team. One of the biggest issues was that Singapore’s top male player, Gao Ning, who was aiming to make the top 8, lost in the 3rd round without a coach on the court-side.

He blamed his team manager and coach for his loss, saying that they “embarrassed” him.

I, for one, think that it’s a really stupid controversy, and a really stupid thing to be talking about. Gao Ning should have nobody but himself to blame. Yes, it was a mistake and it was unfortunate that he didn’t have a coach. But he’s supposed to be a top-class player, he should have been able to make the step up. After all, he’s the one playing the game, not the coach.

Contrast his story (and reaction) with the story of Taiwanese tennis player Lu Yen-hsun, who made it to the last 16 of the Olympics – beating Andy Murray in the process – also without a coach.

If he could do it, why couldn’t Gao Ning – who’s much more highly regarded in his sport?

At the end of the day, you are the one who’s putting in the performances and doing the task. Sure, it’s always good to have people behind you and supporting you. But when it comes down to it, it’s about you and how well you do.

You’re always going to face controversies. There are times when you’re going to have to go it alone. And that’s the true test – can you step up by yourself?