Goh Soon Huat (right) hopes his inclusion in the Thomas Cup Finals squad will open up a new chapter in his badminton career. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: National back-up men’s singles shuttler Goh Soon Huat hopes his inclusion in the Thomas Cup Finals squad will open up a new chapter in his badminton career.
On Saturday, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) picked the 24-year-old Soon Huat as the fourth singles player in the squad for the Finals in New Delhi from May 18-25.
He joins world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren and six doubles shuttlers – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Tan Boon Heong-Chan Peng Soon – in the 10-member squad.
Although Soon Huat will play the role as a reserve, he said that his inclusion was a timely recognition and a big boost to his morale.
“There were days of anxiety. Now, I feel so relieved that I have been selected for the Finals,” said Soon Huat, who finished first in two selection trials.
“It is the dream of every player to feature in a major tournament like the Thomas Cup. I will be out to repay the selectors’ faith and cherish every moment.
“It is like starting all over again for me. I hope that my performances will only improve from here onwards,” said a delighted Soon Huat after checking into a local hotel here on Sunday.
Soon Huat and his team-mates will officially begin their centralised training camp on Monday with a training session at the Juara Stadium. They will be joined by the Uber Cup Finals squad.
Soon Huat added that he would give his undivided commitment to the team.
“I turned 24 this year, but I have not produced many great results yet. At my age, some players from China have done well for their country. Some may believe that I may have nothing much to offer at this point, but I hope to prove them wrong” said Soon Huat, whose best result was a runner-up finish at the 2013 Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold.
Soon Huat has come a long way to get into the squad. At one stage, there were doubts he would be able to continue his badminton career after being inflicted with a rare illness. He had to undergo a surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain and it took him almost five months to get back on his feet.
“All that is a thing of a past now. What I have gone through is pretty amazing. I’m going to learn as much as possible at the Finals and I believe the experience will be invaluable to me. From here on, my aim is to move forward,” said Soon Huat.
Malaysia are drawn in Group C with South Korea, Germany and India in the Finals. And there is a strong possibility of Soon Huat getting a run-out, especially against Germany.