PETALING JAYA: Former two-time national champion Ng Mee Fen’s biggest disappointment in her badminton career was not fulfilling her full potential.
And she hopes that the 21-year-old Goh Jin Wei will rethink her call to quit as she may live to regret it too.
On Monday, Jin Wei pulled off a shocker by announcing her retirement due to a health reason but there was also a tinge of disappointment in her voice as she spoke of a dream – of playing in the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup Finals but the BA of Malaysia have only chosen her for the latter event.
The 39-year-old Mee Fen has been following the two-time world junior champion Jin Wei’s rapid rise from a junior to the country’s top women’s player.
In fact, Jin Wei became the second youngest player to win the national title at 16 – just six months short of beating Mee Fen’s record of being the youngest player to do so in 1998.
Mee Fen bemoaned a call she had made in the past – and hoped Jin Wei was not making the same mistake.
“I had qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics on merit but I chose to sit for my SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) that year,” said Mee Fen, who holds a degree in psychology and currently pursuing her Masters in counseling at the Open University Malaysia (OUM).
“I was young and naive. I thought I had plenty of good years ahead of me but I didn’t.
“I was bugged with injuries that saw me missing the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“I chose to retire after that due to combination of several factors – injury, lack of will as my father had passed away then and he was the reason why I had played badminton, and the lack of opportunities.
“So I was unable to catch up with other youngsters like Wong Mew Choo.
“For a player, who has trained hard from young, the biggest regret is not being able to fulfil one’s potential.”“I’ve met many players over the years, who have left the national team with much regrets. There are some things that they can’t control – the training environment, injuries, coaching styles. They feel helpless and feel trapped.
“I’ve had wished for a better environment, support, system and opportunity too.”
Mee Fen hopes Jin Wei will settle down and rethink her decision.
“I’m not sure what’s the root cause. Is it just health issue or she lacks the motivation because of the environment. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected many, it affects one’s mental state,” she said.
“Right now, Jin Wei just want to hang up her racquet, looks like there is no fire in her.
“I hope she will reconsider when she settles down. If health is really an issue, she can take time to recover and switch to mixed doubles or play as a professional player.
“She is a rare talent. It’s hard to find a gem like her in the women’s department. She is not only skilful but plays intelligently. I truly hope her talent will not go to waste.”