Jacky wants to jump out of the box before joining seniors

  • Badminton
  • Thursday, 06 Feb 2020

PETALING JAYA: National boys’ singles shuttler Jacky Kok Jing Hong wants to shrug off his underachiever tag and end his junior career on a high this year.

Jing Hong, who turns 18 next month, has made securing podium finishes at the Asian Junior Championships (AJC) in Suzhou, China in July and World Junior Championships (WJC) in Auckland, New Zealand in October, his targets.

In order to get there, he knows he must first regain his winning touch.

Jing Hong has won only two international titles – the Korean Junior Championships in December 2017 and Indonesian Junior Grand Prix in April 2018 – but both were in the Under-17 category.

He failed to impress in his AJC and WJC debuts, reaching only the second and fourth round in the respective meets.

“I don’t feel like I have achieved enough in my junior career,” said Jing Hong.

“But I still have one year to make a difference before moving up to the senior ranks. I hope to make it a great one.

“The AJC and WJC will be my main targets. I hope to prepare myself well for it by winning a title or two to boost my confidence. It’s been a while since I last tasted success.

“I have not won an Under-19 title yet, so I’ll try my best to win it. If I can prove myself in the Open tournaments, then I might a good chance to do well in the AJC and WJC.”

Jing Hong will have the first opportunity to assess where he stands when he competes in the Dutch Junior (Feb 26-March 1) and German Junior Internationals (March 4-8).

The two European meets, considered as the most prestigious junior Open tournaments, will feature all the top-ranked junior shuttlers in the world, minus the Chinese players.

The China BA has withdrawn its team from the two tournaments as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus outbreak,

Jing Hong, the world No. 6, needs to live up to his ranking by doing well at both tournaments.

“I’m looking to make the most of the absence of the Chinese players. But there are so many good players out there,” he said.

“This is going to be a brand new challenge for most of us because the best shuttlers from the previous batch such as (three-time world junior champion) Kunlavut (Vitidsarn of Thailand) and Li Yunze (of China) have moved up to senior ranks.

“That’s the reason why my ranking improved drastically. It is good to be ranked highly as it helps me get a good seeding. By avoiding top guns in the early rounds, I have a good chance of going far in a tournament.

“I’m not afraid to set myself lofty targets. It’s about time I start to shine,” he said.
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