KUALA LUMPUR: National discard Soong Joo Ven (pic) showed he still has plenty of fire in his belly after marching into the main draw of the men’s singles event in the Thailand Masters.
The 24-year-old Joo Ven, who was dropped by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) two weeks ago, won both his matches in the qualifying round at the Huamark Indoor Stadium to set up a meeting against Ygor Coelho of Brazil in the first round of the main draw.
In the first qualifying match yesterday, he survived a stern test by beating Frenchman Lucas Claerbout 19-21,21-15,21-19 before pulling off an easy 21-19,21-11 win over former Asian junior champion and teammate Soo Teck Zhi.
Joo Ven said he is on a mission to prove a point.
“I’ve been dropped and I’m still unable to accept the reason behind it... but life goes on.
“I’m more fired up than before, ” said Joo Ven.
Despite being second best in the national team behind Lee Zii Jia, the world No. 68 was dropped because he did not meet the national body’s expectations in the 13 tournaments he had taken part last year.
“Others had between 17 and 20 tournaments to prove themselves but I had fewer tournaments. It felt unfair but I had to accept the decision.
“I’m training now as an independent player with the Sports Affair club together with Liew Daren. I still have the desire and fire to become a top player.
“I’m thankful for the support from the professional club but I need more sponsors to sustain my career. The road ahead is tough but I’m not giving up.”
World No. 75 Cheam June Wei also made it to the main draw after coming through two mat-ches. He defeated Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo of Indonesia 21-13,21-15 and knocked out Lu Chia-hung of Taiwan 21-8,21-15.
He takes on Kenta Nishimoto of Japan in today’s first round.
Zii Jia and Daren will be the other two Malaysians hoping to win their opening round matches against Indian opponents today.
Zii Jia faces Sameer Verma while Daren takes on H.S Prannoy.
In women’s singles, Goh Jin Wei made it to the main draw after defeating Chloe Birch of Denmark 21-16,21-11 to set up a meeting against top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
It’s Jin Wei’s first tournament since she her colectomy surgery to remove part of her colon in October last year.
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