PETALING JAYA: Goh Jin Wei may have missed out on her Asian Games debut, but the national women’s singles shuttler still has plenty to look forward to.
The 18-year-old is all pumped up for her first outing in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina from Oct 6-18 with her sights firmly on the gold medal.
If Jin Wei accomplishes that, she will become the first shuttler to win both the World Junior Championships and YOG titles.
South America has proven to be her favourite hunting ground as it was in Lima, Peru that she tasted success as a world junior champion in 2015.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity as it’s my first and also last YOG, so I’ll definitely give it a go (at the gold),” said Jin Wei.
Jin Wei, the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games champion, is currently the third highest ranked girls’ singles in the world behind No. 1 Wang Zhiyi of China and No. 2 Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan.
The trio, together with another Chinese Wei Yaxin, the world No. 5, are expected to battle it out for the title.
Although Jin Wei is now playing solely in the senior tournaments since January and had beaten some of the top rivals including He Bingjiao, Sung Ji-hyun and Aya Ohori, she reckons playing in the junior competition poses a different challenge altogether.
“My form in the senior tournaments would count for nothing when I compete in the YOG,” said Jin Wei.
“When you play against higher-ranked opponents, there’s no pressure and simply nothing to lose.
“But that’s not the face when it comes to going up against rivals in the same age group because you expect yourself to do well. And considering I have not played in junior tournaments for quite a while, it’s going to be tricky because I haven’t met most of them.”
“It will be an open contest. I think all the top eight are equally capable of winning as well.”
Jin Wei will be looking to emulate Cheam June Wei’s feat in Nanjing, China four years ago. June Wei made history as the first ever Malaysian gold medallist by winning the mixed doubles with Hong Kong Ng Tsz Yau after defeating Japan-Taiwan combination Kanta Tsuneyama-Lee Chia-hsin.
The gold however, was not credited into Malaysia’s medal tally as they are competing under the mixed-NOCs (National Olympic Committees) flag.
The mixed-NOCs was introduced in the inaugural games in Singapore in 2010, whereby the athletes from different nations would compete in the same team, often representing their continent.
Jin Wei is expected to play in the mixed doubles too.
Malaysia, however, are not represented in the boys’ singles event as none had made the top 27 cut based on the BWF world junior rankings.