PETALING JAYA: Most athletes are eagerly waiting for the sports scene to come alive again but not the country’s third ranked women’s singles shuttler Lee Ying Ying.
The 22-year-old Ying Ying instead, will be saying goodbye to the sport with a heavy heart when the movement control order is lifted after playing with Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)’s junior and senior teams for a decade.
She started her junior career at the Bukit Jalil Sports School in 2010 before she was promoted after winning a silver medal at the 2015 world junior championships.
In the world junior meet, she lost to Goh Jin Wei in the final but showed plenty of spunk and promise.
But with lack of results over the last few years and a constant heel injury issue, Ying Ying knows the call to end her badminton career is inevitable.
“I could have done better if not for my own lack of confidence. There were few opportunities but I did not take my chances well, ” said the world No. 123 Ying Ying.
“And I was struggling with heel injury for almost a year too.”
Ying Ying has entered several finals in the lower-tier International Challenge and Series but in the higher level tournaments, her best probably was at the 2017 Malaysian Masters when she lost to Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong in the quarter-finals.
Her first and only senior title is the Romanian International Challenge in 2016. She has also represented Malaysia at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games and the 2018 Uber Cup Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, but Ying Ying undoubtedly, will leave the scene without having her potential fully maximised.
“Overall, the time with the national team will always be special to me, ” said Ying Ying.
“If there is one thing that I hope that we can do better is to foster a stronger unity in the team by helping one another. I see this good trait in Japan.
While Ying Ying treasures her stint in BAM, the badminton fraternity will also remember her for her talents off the badminton court – her artistic sketching skills and her compassion for animals.
Ying Ying, whose family owns a restaurant in Ipoh, has even sketched her badminton friends, among many other things, but now is focused on food.
“I take photos of meals before eating, then, I draw and paint them. I’ve a collection in my Youtube channel. It’s fun, ” said Ying Ying, who also used to work at a shelter for dogs during weekends.
“A couple I know own this animal shelter in Kajang and I used to volunteer. I hope the animals too are cared for during this time, ” added Ying Ying, who is now in her foundation year with Brickfields Asia College.
When Ying Ying officially leaves BAM, she will be the second women’s singles to do so in five months after Ho Yen Mei. Talented Yen Mei also left because of a nagging heel injury in December last year.
Currently, the other players under Datuk Tey Seu Bock and Loh Wei Sheng in the women’s singles department are Soniia Cheah (29), S, Kisona (92), Jin Wei (138), Eoon Qi Xuan (161) and K. Letshanaa (679).
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