PETALING JAYA: Slow and steady wins the race – that may be the best adage to mark shuttler Ng Tze Yong’s year-long journey this year.
Despite going through ups and downs, the 21-year-old Tze Yong did just enough to break into the top 30 world ranking target set by national singles coaching director Wong Choong Hann, which the latter believes has put him on the right path to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Tze Yong is ranked 27th in the world and is expected to improve further after winning the Bahrain International Challenge in Manama on Sunday.
The Malaysian defeated Kuo Kuan-lin of Taiwan 21-15, 20-22, 21-12 for the title.
“His goal was to reach the top 30 this year and he did it. The Bahrain meet is his last tournament this year. Thanks to his improvement in the world ranking, Tze Yong will get to play in the Malaysian Open next month,” said Choong Hann.
Before Bahrain, his best result was two semi-finals in Indian Open and Australian Open respectively. He was sent packing in the early rounds of seven other international meets.
“Tze Yong has shown steady progress and has grown as a player this year. Of course, we have seen some of weaknesses too and we will focus on that to make him a better player next year,” said Choong Hann.
“We hope he will get into the top 16 in the new season. The first four tournaments next year in Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Thailand will be important for him.”
“The one-year Olympic qualifying period begins in May and I think, Tze Yong is moving in the right directions to be one of the qualifiers.”
Choong Hann also hopes to improve the standard of other men’s singles players under his care.
“We have several youngsters in the team and the focus is to narrow their gap. I believe a few more new faces will pop up soon,” he said.