This will be Ho Yen Mei's last outing in the World Junior Championships starting in Alor Setar on Monday. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Ho Yen Mei is focused on one thing – to achieve a top-eight finish in the girls’ singles in her last World Junior Championships, which start in Alor Setar on Monday.
A quarter-final berth will guarantee Yen Mei a place in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, in August.
Despite being under the weather, the 17-year-old Yen Mei has vowed to give her best. The other Malaysians competing are S. Kisona, Lee Ying Ying and Goh Jin Wei.
The World Junior Championships will start with the mixed team event on Monday followed by the individual events.
“This is my last year as a junior. I want to make it a memorable one. Unfortunately, I am down with flu right now ... hopefully, I will be able to bounce back quickly,” said Yen Mei, who reached the top 16 last year.
A player who finishes in the top eight will get an automatic entry into the Youth Olympic Games – but one country cannot have more than two representatives in one event.
If Yen Mei or other Malaysians fail to make the top eight, they can qualify based on the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) May 1 world junior rankings list.
Yen Mei is now ranked 24th but she will stand a better chance if she breaks into the top 15.
Only 27 boys singles and 27 girls singles will qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.
In order to give her more time to recover, Yen Mei may be rested when Malaysia begin their campaign in the mixed team event against Australia in Group Z2 on Monday.
Malaysia have the option of fielding Ying Ying, Kisona and the 13-year-old teenage star Jin Wei.
“We have a good draw and all the players are very motivated. We did not do very well in the Asian Junior Championships (Malaysia lost in the quarter-finals in Taiwan in February) but we aim to do better this time,” said Yen Mei.
The eight group winners will advance to the knockout stage.