PETALING JAYA: She’s a two-time world junior champion and a Youth Olympics gold medallist but women’s singles shuttler Goh Jin Wei will have to wait like everyone else before she can return to the national team training.
The 20-year-old receives no privilege and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have opted for S. Kisona over Jin Wei in naming the first batch of 16 players returning to Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) on June 1.
The other trainees are Lee Zii Jia and Cheam June Wei for the men’s singles; Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Nur Izzuddin Rumsani-Goh Sze Fei (men’s doubles); Soniia Cheah (women’s singles); Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen (women’s doubles); Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles).
Zii Jia, Aaron-Wooi Yik, Soniia, Mei Kuan-Meng Yean and Soon Huat-Shevon are the eight shuttlers under the Road to Tokyo (RTT) programme while the rest are being roped in as “sparring partners”.
But these players will act as more than just training mates as BAM are keen to kickstart their preparations for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, which will be held in Aarhus from Oct 3-11.
Badminton is one of the few sports granted a relaxation to resume training in the midst of the conditional movement control order, to get their preparations back on track for the Olympic Games and Paralympics in Tokyo next year.
All training activities at the ABM had been suspended since the commencement of the MCO on March 18, confining the shuttlers to training at home.
BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann admitted that it was a “difficult” decision to choose between Kisona and Jin Wei.
“Not easy, but it was a thought-through decision based on our coaching team’s discussion,” said Choong Hann.
“We thought that there’s no urgency to rush Jin Wei back yet as she’s still making a gradual comeback since recovering from her stomach ailment (which sidelined her for the second half of last year).
“The coaches have collectively made the decision (to pick Kisona).”
Kisona has been going great guns in the absence of Jin Wei. She surprisingly captured the SEA Games gold in Manila last December, defending the medal won by Jin Wei in Kuala Lumpur two years earlier.
Kisona showed that the SEA Games success was no flash in the pan when she stunned Japanese world No. 19 Aya Ohori in the group stages of the Asia Team Championships as Malaysia earned a Uber Cup place on merit.
It was her first victory over a top-20 player.
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