PETALING JAYA: Doubles shuttler Tee Kai Wun had a chance to make it big with the national junior team when he was 15 but he blew it because of a disciplinary problem.
But the 21-year-old from Melaka returned to the national team in March 2019 after passing a trial and had since turned over a new leaf.
And this week, Kai Wun continued to walk the talk when he smashed his way to a double victory in the sixth-tier Spanish International Challenge by triumphing in the men’s doubles with Man Wei Chong and mixed doubles with Teoh Mei Xing.
Together with Wei Chong, they defeated Lucas Corvee-Ronan Labar of France 21-15, 21-18 on Saturday to make it two titles on the trot following their earlier success at the Polish Open in March.
Kai Wun believes they are trending in the right direction towards their short-term goal of cracking the world’s top 64 standing.
They are now ranked No. 270 but the victory is expected to catapult them into the top 170 when the ranking is updated tomorrow.
“It’s definitely a great start for me and Wei Chong, from Poland to Spain, we have lived up to our expectations,” said Kai Wun.
“These tournaments as well as the opponents may not be top class players, but we still needed to play our best game to win as tournaments are limited.
“We hope to break into the top 64 as it will make it easier for us to play in higher-tier tournaments in future.”
Kai Wun is glad that he changed to a better person after he was dropped from the Bukit Jalil Sports School in 2015 together with his partner then.
“I was immature at that time. I joined BJSS, but it didn’t last long. I got influenced by my partner. We went off track and got kicked out,” he said.
Fortunately for Kai Wun, Kepong BC gave him a lifeline to rebuild his badminton career.
“I will always be grateful to Kepong BC. The few years with them was great for my development as they sent me for overseas tournaments. I even managed to make the 2017 world junior championships squad through a selection trial,” he said.
“The turning point for me was winning the Sukma (Malaysian Games) gold with Aaron (Chia) in 2018. I decided to attend the trial in 2019 and here I am now.”
Aaron, who forms the national No. 1 partnership with Soh Wooi Yik, has no doubt that Kai Wun can only get better.
“He’s easily one of the most consistent players among the juniors. His defensive skill is also top notch. The way he’s progressing, I believe he can make it to the top,” said the world No. 9.
As for the mixed doubles, Kai Wun said he would play the event on an ad-hoc basis.