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Friday June 7, 2013
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: The Kedah Open badminton championships may have gone unnoticed by many last week but this tournament could have very well heralded the birth of a hugely talented shuttler in Goh Jin Wei, who created local badminton history of sorts.
At 13 years old, the Penangite became the youngest shuttler to win the Under-18 Division Two title in a local tournament. And en route to the title in the opening leg of the National Circuit, she toppled all the top juniors from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) for her most impressive victory to date.
She defeated 17-year-old top seed Ho Yen Mei 21-10, 11-21, 21-15 in the final and her other big scalps were second seed S. Kisona and third seed Yap Rui Chen.
And the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), aware of her great potential, have made special arrangements for the Form One student to be flown from the northern state to Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara to spar with the national players during all the school holidays.
Jin Wei’s exploits come at the right time as Malaysia are scrapping the barrel in the search for women’s singles talents.
If Jin Wei continues to show progress, she is expected to join the likes of other young talents like Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan and P.V. Sindhu of India and give China’s women’s singles shuttlers a worthy fight in the future.
She should, over the next few years, add more depth to the national team, who currently rely on players like the Cheah sisters of Sonia and Lydia; Tee Jing Yi and Yang Li Lian.
Penang Badminton Association (PBA) secretary Tony Tan was beaming with pride when he spoke of their “pearl of the Orient” – Jin Wei.
He believes that their “investment” in their development programme was bearing fruit.
“We are truly elated with Jin Wei’s rise to stardom. She has continued to bloom since we first spotted her when she was eight years old,” said Tony.
“We are confident that she will become an athlete of high calibre and will bring honour for the nation – just like Wong Mew Choo, or even better.
“National coach Wong Tat Meng has earmarked a few shuttlers to form the next echelon of women’s singles players and we’re happy that Jin Wei is one of them.”
Tony, however, cautioned against putting undue pressure on Jin Wei.
“She is just enjoying the game. We do not want to push her and get her injured. We do not want her to be burnt out at a young age. She still has a lot of years ahead of her and she needs the right guidance,” he said.
Besides her exploits at the Kedah Open, Jin Wei has also won several other international accolades.
This year, she nailed the Under-14 girls’ singles title in Trang, Thailand; and bagged the Under-13 title in Surabaya.
She was also the runner-up in the Under-13 at the Singapore Junior Championships.
On the local front, she has been undefeated in the junior category and continues to beat all the seniors in the other age categories.
Jin Wei is competing in the ongoing National Schools (MSSM) in Labuan.
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