KUALA LUMPUR: Youngster Goh Jin Wei’s decision to turn down an offer to study and play badminton in Singapore two years ago is a blessing for Malaysia.
At the recent Singapore SEA Games, the 15-year-old bronze medallist continued to show that she is a star in the making for Malaysia.
She played exceptionally well to deliver the winning point against Vietnam in the women’s team event to steer Malaysia into the final with a 3-2 win.
In the individual event, Jin Wei stunned Thailand’s second seed Nichaon Jindapon in the quarter-finals. It was the first time a Malaysian scored a win over the Thai. Jin Wei lost to Indonesia’s Hana Ramadini in the semi-finals.
Earlier in January, she had upset all the seniors in the national team to win the Kuala Lumpur Open. Even during her junior days, she was always beating players more senior than her.
Jin Wei, who hails from Penang, said she was at a crossroads after completing her primary education.
“After my Standard 6 in Penang, the Singapore Schools Sports Council offered me a good package. The programme was good and the environment was also perfect for me to pursue my sports career,” said Jin Wei.
“My mother and I went to Singapore and we were tempted to sign the deal,” added Jin Wei.
Fortunately for Malaysia, officials from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), National Sports Council (NSC) and the Penang Badminton Association (PBA) made quick and special arrangements for Jin Wei to be roped into the national team. She is now studying in a private school in Kuala Lumpur.
“I got to know of the programme through my seniors from Penang as they left to join Singapore. Luckily, I chose not to go,” said Jin Wei.
Two of Jin Wei’s seniors from Penang – Loh Kean Yew and Loh Kean Hean – represented Singapore at the SEA Games.
Kean Yew gave Malaysia’s Mohd Arif Abdul Latif a tough time before losing in the men’s singles semi-finals while his brother Kean Hean was in the team as a doubles player.
“I have improved a lot since joining the national team two years ago and I have been given many opportunities. I will continue to work hard,” said Jin Wei.
“I learnt valuable experience at the SEA Games. I did well but I need to be more patient and control my emotions on court.”
Jin Wei’s next assignment is the Asian Junior Championships in Bangkok from June 28-July 5.
“This is my second Asian Junior Championships. I only made it to the third round last year. I am aiming for better results, but I will not take any of my opponents lightly,” said Jin Wei.