KUALA LUMPUR: A determined Goh Jin Wei made a giant breakthrough in her career by becoming the youngest-ever shuttler to win a local Open title.
Playing in her first Open tournament, the 15-year-old Jin Wei overcame abdominal cramps to beat national No. 4 Lim Yin Fun 21-13, 22-24, 21-19 in a thrilling 69-minute women’s singles final of the Kuala Lumpur Open at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton (KLBA) Stadium in Cheras.
It was Jin Wei’s first-ever win over the 21-year-old Yin Fun and her third big scalp in the championships, having earlier beaten seniors Yang Li Lian and Lee Ying Ying in the Division One category.
“This is a shocking win for me. I am in a daze right now,” said the 1.57m-tall Jin Wei.
The win did not come easy for the tiny gem from Penang but she showed maturity beyond her age.
After taking the opener with a 21-13 win, she surged to a 14-10 lead in the second before she was troubled by cramps.
“I always get cramps when I play. I tried to hold her off but lost control towards the end,” said Jin Wei, who also used to beat higher-ranked players in Division Two before moving up to Division One this season.
“I pushed myself in the decider and took a 19-11 lead. Yin Fun caught up but I managed to hang on for my biggest win,” added the Form Two student of a private school in Damansara.
Jin Wei has now beaten most of the senior players in the country, except for Tee Jing Yi and the Cheah sisters – Sonia and Lydia.
“I have not beaten them yet. I hope to do that one day. This year, my big goal is to do well in the World Junior Championships (in Peru in November),” she said.
“I will be happy to reach the semi-finals. I am young and there is no pressure on me. I aim to be a world junior champion before I turn 18,” added Jin Wei.
In the men’s singles final, Goh Soon Huat emerged champion after beating former international Tan Chun Seang 21-12, 21-19. It was the 25-year-old Soon Huat’s second local crown, having won the Sabah Open last year. He has now strengthened his claim to represent Malaysia at the Sudirman Cup in China in May and the Singapore SEA Games in June.
Meanwhile, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying’s comeback trail ended in glory as they downed juniors Wang Fai Xin-Chow Mei Kuan 21-16, 21-19 in the mixed doubles final.
It was the duo’s first tournament since Liu Ying went for surgeries on both knees last May.
“It was great to partner Liu Ying again and even sweeter to win our first tournament together after so many months. But we still have a lot to work to do to improve our game,” said Peng Soon.
Peng Soon- Liu Ying’s next assignment is the Swiss Open from March 10-15.