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Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 6:07:00 PM
Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 6:11:22 PM
by rajes paul
Thailand's Ratchanok Inthanon celebrates after winning her women's singles final against China's Li Xuerui at the World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou. Former international Kwan Yoke Meng has urged the current crop of Malaysian juniors to draw inspiration from her. – AFP Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s women singles department is at its lowest ebb – with none making any headway.
But former international Kwan Yoke Meng has urged the current crop of Malaysian juniors to draw inspiration from reigning world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.
On Sunday, the 18-year-old Ratchanok oozed class, confidence and charisma well beyond her tender age to beat reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China 22-20, 18-21, 21-14 to become the youngest singles world champion in the World Championships series.
She is, however, not the youngest champion in the series. South Korean doubles ace Jang Hye-ock was three months younger than Ratchanok when she won the 1995 world title with Young Ah-gil.
Yoke Meng said that Ratchanok’s win showed that “nothing is impossible” and called on the Malaysian women to emulate the Thai’s feat.
“Our players lack motivation. They do not believe in their own abilities. We have talents aplenty but most of them fear losing and do not believe that they can go far,” said Yoke Meng.
“We also have the problem of players switching from singles to doubles after coming into the national team. They used to be good singles players in schools.
“Most of them have the skills but not the mentality and confidence of a champion.
“I hope Ratchanok has shown these youngsters that nothing is impossible. She defeated Chinese players in their own den. She also showed that nothing comes easy and that you will be rewarded if you put in the hard work and commitment in practice.”
Malaysia were only represented by Tee Jing Yi in Guangzhou as her younger compatriot, Sonia Cheah, had withdrawn earlier with an injury.
Jing Yi failed to make an impression, losing in the opening round to Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi.
Besides Jing Yi and Sonia, there is hardly anyone else under the charge of Wong Tat Meng who can keep the Malaysian flag flying high in women’s singles.
There are a few youngsters in the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) – like Ho Yen Mei, Goh Jin Wei, S. Kisona, Yap Rui Chen, Lee Ying Ying and M. Thinnah. Hopefully these girls will step up to the plate and produce the kind of performances which former international Wong Mew Choo was famous for before she retired in 2011.
Yoke Meng said that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) should increase their pool of players and start to instil confidence in the women shuttlers.
“Thailand are doing so well because they have invested so much in their development programme. Many of them train with clubs on a full-time basis and they have the support of sponsors. Their top players have been in full-time training for the last three years,” he said.
“Here, the sponsors are only attracted to the national team and our focus is only on the elites. I believe that we have many young girls who are interested in sports but I’m not sure whether they are motivated enough to give the singles event a shot.”
Tags / Keywords:
badminton, Kwan Yoke Meng, Ratchanok Intanon, Li Xuerui, Tee Jing Yi, Sonia Cheah
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