Jing Wen has stomach for tough battle after first stage slip-up

Time to shine: Khor Jing Wen faces a tough battle to regain her place in the elite group after failing to live up to her top billing last month.

PETALING JAYA: Top girls’ singles shuttler Khor Jing Wen faces a battle she can’t afford to lose when the 100PLUS National Ranking Challenge resumes with the playoff stages at Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old failed to live up to her top billing during the first stage three weeks ago after finishing third to Myisha Khairul and Tan Zhing Yi in the four-player Group A, the top division.

By virtue of being the bottom two finishers, Jing Wen will now join last-placed Joanne Ng, Siti Shuhaini Azman and Loh Zhi Wei, the winner and runner-up of Group B, in a four-way fight for the two vacant berths in Group A.

On paper, Jing Wen should face little trouble coming in as the best two and regain her place in the elite group.

However, the Penang-born lass is cautious of her chances, saying that her three competitors are no pushovers.

“I’m all ready for the playoffs,” said Jing Wen, who’s also the reigning National Under-18 champion.

“Luckily, it had been postponed (twice from initial dates of Nov 20-23 and Nov 27-30), allowing me some time to regroup and prepare well.

“If I play to my best, I’m quite confident I’d get the job done. Having said that, it’s equally important that I don’t become complacent because the top two players from Group B are quite good too.

“I lost to Siti last year (in the National Inter-state Under-18 mixed team championship final), so I will not underestimate any of them.”

Despite losing her No. 1 status, Jing Wen believes there’s plenty of positives to take from her performance in the first stage.

She was defeated in two matches that could have gone either way – going down 21-15, 19-21, 17-21 to Zhing Yi and 18-21, 24-22, 22-24 to Myisha.

“As much as I feel disappointed for not being able to finish in the top two, I think I gave my best,” said Jing Wen.

“I believe I’m on par with Myisha and Zhing Yi ability-wise. It’s just that they handled the critical moments much better than I did. I lost the matches despite being in the lead.

“I just have to learn from each defeat and strive to do better the next time.”

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