KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Cheam June Wei is hoping for one final flourish when he competes in his last Asian Junior Championships in Bangkok from June 28-July 5.
The 18-year-old Penangite has competed in three editions of the championships without any success. He made the last 16 in 2012 and 2013 and was a shock second-round casualty last year despite being seeded fourth.
Now June Wei is hoping to emulate compatriots Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Soo Teck Zhi by winning the boys’ singles crown. Zulfadli was the first Malaysian to emerge champion in 2011 and Teck Zhi followed suit in 2013.
“This is my last Asian Juniors and I have not gone far in the tournament. My best result is just the last 16 and it’s not good enough,” said June Wei who won the Dutch Junior Open in March.
“I definitely hope to do better than I did in the past. But I don’t want to pressure myself too much and I will just try to take it one match at a time because the competition is quite tough.
“But I am ready especially since I had the chance to be a part of the Sudirman Cup team (in China in May). I learned a lot watching how the top players prepare for a big competition,” he added.
June Wei is seeded second behind Firman Abdul Kholik of Indonesia. He has a first-round bye before meeting Macau’s Lou Hok Man. June Wei is expected to breeze into the fourth round where he should meet ninth seed Vega Vio Nirwanda of Indonesia.
Besides June Wei, the other Malaysians competing in the boys’ singles are R. Satheishtharan, Lee Zii Jia and Tan Jia Wei.
Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) project manager Kwan Yoke Meng, who is in charge of the Asian Juniors team, pointed out that Malaysia have been tardy in exposing their youngsters in international competitions.
“China, Thailand, Indonesia and even Taiwan exposed their juniors to senior competitions long before we did. We are slightly behind time and we have a lot of rebuilding to do,” stressed Yoke Meng.
The Malaysian team will leave for Bangkok on Thursday.