Letshanaa has to prove her worth at junior meet

PETALING JAYA: K. Letshanaa will have plenty to prove when she competes in the finale of the 100Plus National Junior Ranking Challenge at Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABC) which starts tomorrow.

The 17-year-old has been selected alongside Eoon Qi Xuan, 20, as the two back-up shuttlers from the women’s singles department to face top-ranked juniors Myisha Khairul, 18, and Tan Zhing Yi, 17, in the four-day meet.

While Qi Xuan is set to start as the favourite in the round-robin format, all eyes will be on Letshanaa.

Letshanaa is the odd one out because she bypassed the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) youth development system to join the national team.

Regarded as an exceptional talent, Letshanaa trained with the seniors earlier this year to fast-track her transition to elite level.

Letshanaa has proven that she is on a different level by triumphing at all age-group levels.

Her most notable achievement was winning the National Under-18 Championships in 2017 when she was just 14.

But Letshanaa knows that her entitlement to train with the likes of Soniia Cheah, Goh Jin Wei and S. Kisona come with certain expectations.

“I’m looking forward to getting good results this week, ” said Letshanaa.

“I have gained a lot in the last few months training under coaches Indra (Wijaya) and (Loh) Wei Sheng.

“I’m very excited to be playing again and to find out if my game has improved. I played just one competitive match at the President’s Cup (internal team event, losing tamely to Lee Ying Ying) in September and I told myself I must make amends in the next competition. So, I want to make the most of this week’s challenge.”If past records is anything to go by, Letshanaa will have the upper hand going into the tournament.

Letshanaa has beaten Zhing Yi in all three previous encounters while her head-to-head duel with Qi Xuan and Myisha currently stands at 1-1.

But Letshanaa was victorious in recent meetings, beating Qi Xuan in the 2017 National Under-18 Championships and Myisha at last year’s National Championships.

“I have played all of them in junior tournaments, so being familiar with their style does give me the confidence when I face them again, ” added Letshanaa.

“But it all depends on how you perform on that day. You still have to produce your best to win.”

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