From Jekyll to Hyde

Two faces of June Wei: The polite and kind character (left) is pondering over a change of personality when he is competing as more aggression is needed.

PETALING JAYA: National No. 2 men’s singles shuttler Cheam June Wei is known as the Mr Nice Guy by his badminton peers.

The tag is fitting as the 23-year-old is indeed a respectful, polite and kind person.

But expect June Wei to emerge with a new image and character when he begins the new badminton season in January next year. He wants to be as ruthless as his idols Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan so that his name will be known and feared in the world badminton fraternity.

“Right now, I’m just seen as another ordinary player in the badminton scene. I want to change that image, I want to build a stronger character and be imposing on court, ” said June Wei.

“I want to discover more about myself and what I’m capable of.”

It’s not only June Wei who wants to change but his coach Hendrawan and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann have also advised him to do the same.

“I’ve spoken to Hendrawan and Choong Hann and they have told me that I’m too nice. I am to a certain extent, I think.

“Usually, I don’t show much emotion on court.

“I’ve evaluated my game over the past weeks and I know that I’ve to change. I want to be strong characters like Chong Wei and Lin Dan.

“I’ve watched Chong Wei and Lin Dan play countless times over the years. They have this powerful aura in them when they play.

“They don’t fear their opponents and they play confidently. Instead, they strike fear in their opponents, ” he said.

World No. 74 June Wei has showed marked improvement this year.

He had upstaged Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie, South Korea’s Son Wan-ho and Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in the second singles to help Malaysia finish runners-up in the Thomas Cup qualifiers in Manila.

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all the tournaments were halted and he was unable to ride on his momentum.

“I’m looking forward to the new season. There will be two Asia legs in Thailand and I hope to do well, ” added June Wei.

He, however, will first take part in the BAM’s mixed team championships, which has been postponed to Nov 26-29 at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara.

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