14-year-old Goh Jin Wei made light work of her Mexican opponent in the first round of the singles event at the World Junior Championships in Alor Setar on Sunday. She won 21-9, 21-11. - CHAN BOON KAI/ The Star
ALOR SETAR: Fourteen-year-old shuttler Goh Jin Wei is not one to shy a way from a challenge.
Jin Wei, who was initially drawn to meet top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the earlier rounds, now faces a different route in the girls’ singles event of the World Junior Championships.
A re-draw was conducted on Saturday night and it has now pitted the SMK Seri Hartamas student against joint-ninth seed Thamolwan Poopradubsil of Thailand in Monday’s second round.
“I would have preferred to face Akane. I was really looking forward to seeing how I would match up against her. So I was a bit disappointed with the re-draw,” said Jin Wei.
“I know my chances of beating her are slim, but still it would have been a great chance to see just how I would have done against her and to see how big a gap there is between us.”
The Penangite, who currently trains with the senior squad, has certainly set her standards high.
She was none too pleased with her performance in the first round at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium yesterday despite an effortless 21-9, 21-11 win over Mexico’s Haramara Gaitan in 19 minutes.
“I won ... but I didn’t play well,” said Jin Wei emphatically.
“It was my first match on the court. I was using it to get used to the court conditions. So, at least I managed to find my rhythm.”
Jin Wei, who has a few more years to make an impact in the Under-19 championships, is just looking forward to glean as much experience as possible from her matches here.
Besides being the youngest member in the national back-up squad, Jin Wei has been training with the seniors since she was 13 – and she has been earmarked to be Malaysia’s next rising talent.
“It’s about absorbing as much as I can from playing against the much more experienced opponents here. That’s what I do in my training with the seniors,” said Jin Wei.
“I go straight to training after school every day, which leaves me very tired. But it’s worth it. The amount of skills and experience I can pick up from the exposure is priceless.”