PETALING JAYA: Sports has always had its fair share of glamour girls.
Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Anna Kournikova, Eugenie Bouchard, Martina Hingis, Gabriela Sabatini – all of tennis, come to mind.
Soon, Malaysian badminton will have its own pin-up model to rival them!
And it’s none other than mixed doubles shuttler Goh Liu Ying. The 24-year-old has been out of competition for almost six months after undergoing surgery on both knees in May.
And, while recuperating, she took up a new hobby – modelling.
With time to kill – she is only expected to don national colours again next January – she summoned up all her courage and signed up with the Amber Chia Academy in February.
“The healing process (after the surgery) took a long time. I diligently went for my rehabilitation programme but I still had time on my hand. I wanted to put it to good use. I decided to try out something that I had been dreaming off since I was young – modelling,” said Liu Ying.
“I had put this little dream of mine on the back burner because I lacked confidence. Now, the recovery period for my injury has turned out to be a blessing as I have graduated from the modelling academy.
“I was shy initially ... but it all worked out well. I have learnt about the beauty of pose, poise and posture. I have learnt how to apply the right amount of make-up ... it is all good fun.
“In fact, after graduating and doing several photo shoots, I feel much more confident as a person,” added Liu Ying, who is also now the brand ambassador for Maxs International.
Maxs International produces kinesio tapes for sports and health.
“I have seen how the spotlight has been on the women tennis players. I used to follow Maria and several other tennis players. Hopefully, I will also be able to add some glitz and glamour to the world of badminton. The profile of women’s badminton needs a big lift,” she said.
Liu Ying may have found her niche in modelling, but badminton will still remain a priority.
“Modelling is a part-time interest right now, but I’m sure it will be something for me to fall back on when my badminton career is over,” she said.
“For now, I’m still as excited as before to make it big in badminton. I’m still passionate about it.
“I’m looking forward to making a comeback ... it has been long since I played in an international tournament.”
Well, it won’t be any time soon, that’s for sure. If all goes well, the gifted mixed doubles player is expected to don national colours again in the season opener – the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold – in Kuching from January 13-18.
She could be reunited with former partner Chan Peng Soon or be given a new partner, depending on what national mixed doubles coach Jeremy Gan has in store for her.
“Hopefully, I will be able to make a strong comeback when the time is right,” said Liu Ying, who has won four international titles with Peng Soon in their five-year partnership.
Whoever her partner may be, one thing is for sure, Liu Ying is set to leave a lasting impression on the badminton courts when she returns.
After all, like she said, she’s hoping to give Malaysian badminton a fresh look – by playing good and looking stylish ... just like her tennis idol Maria Sharapova.