GEORGE TOWN: Penang shuttler Goh Giap Chin is hoping for lady luck to finally smile on him at his third, and final appearance in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Perlis.
The 21-year-old’s maiden outing in the 2010 Malacca Games was shortlived as he went down to top seed Mohd Arif Latif of Negri Sembilan in the opening round.
Two years ago in Kuantan, Giap Chin produced a stunning upset to oust former national champion Misbun Ramdan Misbun of Selangor in the last 16. But he picked up an injury during the win over Misbun and lost meekly in the quarter-finals to fellow Penang player Tan Kian Meng.
“I want to bow out of the Sukma scene on a high, and want to win a medal, preferably a gold, for Penang in Perlis,” said Giap Chin.
“I was unlucky in my previous two Sukma appearances, and hope that things will be better this time. I am also keeping my fingers crossed that I will get a favourable draw in the men’s singles event.”
Giap Chin rates former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli, former Asian junior champion Soo Teck Zhi and his own Penang team-mate Cheam June Wei as the players to beat in Kangar.
Besides targeting a medal in the men’s singles, Giap Chin also feels that Penang have a fighting chance to vie for honours in the men’s team event.
Besides the 2014 world junior championships quarter-finalist June Wei and Giap Chin, the Penang line-up also includes Tan Jia Wei, the Under-16 singles champion at the recent Pumpai Cup in Thailand, and national back-up squad doubles players Nelson Heg and Lim Ming Chuen.
The other players in the Penang men’s badminton squad are Chua Kei Yeap, Kelvin Ng and Ong Wei Khoon.
“This year, Penang have a formidable and balanced line-up in the men’s team, with every player capable of fighting for a point,” said Giap Chin.
“This year’s team competition will be tough as everyone else has improved as well. Selangor are the favourites but I see Penang as the dark horses. We have enough quality and if everybody can do his best to fight for the team, we can enter the final.”
In Perlis, the Penang men’s team are drawn in Group B with Johor and Perak, with only the group champions progressing to the semi-finals.
In the women’s section, Penang are banking on 14-year-old teen sensation Goh Jin Wei to spring a surprise or two.
“With the exception of top seed Yang Li Lian (of Selangor), the other top women players in the Sukma competition are of equal strength. It will depend on who can rise to the occasion on the day, and Jin Wei has a fighting chance to vie for a medal,” said the Penang badminton director of coaching and development Tony Tan.
Penang last won a badminton gold medal in the 2010 Games through current national No. 1 Tee Jing Yi in the women’s singles.
Penang have never won a men’s singles badminton gold medal in Sukma. The closest was a silver won by the present world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, who lost to Selangor’s Mohd Hafiz Hashim in the 2002 Games singles final in Kota Kinabalu. The Sukma 2014 badminton competition begins on Tuesday.