Thursday, 24 April 2014 | MYT 6:59 PM
June Wei and Satheishtharan to play in Youth Olympic Games
Cheam June Wei has set his sights on becoming the first singles shuttler to win a medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, in August.
KUALA LUMPUR: Youngsters Cheam June Wei and R. Satheishtharan have confirmed their places for the Youth Olympic Games by virtue of being quarter-finalists in the World Junior Championships in Alor Setar recently.
And June Wei, buoyed by his consistent performances so far this year, has set his sights on becoming the first singles shuttler to win a medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, in August.
The badminton competition at the Games from Aug 16-28 will be held from Aug 17-21.
The 17-year-old June Wei views his qualification for the Youth Games as his first big step towards realising his dream of playing for Malaysia in the Olympic Games – hopefully the 2020 edition in Tokyo.
“Overall, it was a good outing for me and Satheishtharan in the world junior meet. We made it to the quarter-finals to seal our places in the Youth Olympic Games, which are held every four years and we won’t be eligible for the next one,” said June Wei of Penang.
Under the qualification rule for the Youth Olympic Games, a player who finishes in the top eight at the World Junior Championships will get an automatic entry into the Youth Olympic Games – but one country cannot have more than two representatives in one event.
The rule further stipulates that the remaining places in each boys’ and girls’ singles events at the Youth Olympic Games will be filled by 19 highest ranked players in the World Junior rankings as of May 1.
Only 27 boys’ singles and 27 girls’ singles will qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.
Currently, June Wei is ranked sixth the world junior rankings, followed by Satheishtharan at No. 14. With his good ranking, German Junior runner-up June Wei is set to get a good seeding for the Youth Olympic Games.
“No singles players has won a medal at the Youth Olympic Games ... hopefully, I’ll be able to end that wait. It will be my last junior tournament for the year and I hope to do well,” said June Wei, who showed that he has great potential to go far when he defeated singles world junior champion Lin Guipu 21-23, 21-14, 23-21 in the mixed team event.
It was the country’s only point in Malaysia’s 3-1 loss to China in the team event.
“I’m very ambitious in my badminton career but I know that there is still a long way to go. Hopefully, some good results in the junior ranks will show me that I’m on the right path to represent and win honours for the country at the Olympic Games,” said June Wei.
At the last Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, Loh Wei Sheng failed to nick a medal when he pulled out with an injury during the semi-finals.
As for the girls, although none made it to the quarter-finals of the World Junior Championships, Lee Ying Ying may still get to go to the Youth Olympic Games.
Ying Ying, who crashed out in the fourth round of the world junior meet, is ranked 15th in the world junior standing and is likely to qualify when Badminton World Federation (BWF) publish the list of qualifiers after May 1.