Ling Ching elated to get surprise spot in Asian meet

PETALING JAYA: Women’s singles shuttler Wong Ling Ching is elated to get a surprise spot in the Asian Mixed Team Championships after only joining the national team last October.

The 20-year-old Ling Ching is in the squad with independent player and world No. 29 Goh Jin Wei.

“I’m happy and excited to compete in a big tournament for the first time. I’m thankful for this opportunity and I hope I can do well,” said Ling Ching.

On her journey to the national team, Ling Ching said: “I joined the Bukit Jalil Sports School at the age of 15 but had to leave seven months later after I injured my right ankle.

“I became an independent player after that and trained in badminton clubs in Penang and also at the state school programme under former player Goh Giap Chin. In October last year, BAM invited me to join the national team.”

Ling Ching had caught the eye when she captured the National Under-21 championships last May and reached the semi-finals of the Sydney International in October.

In her first tournament since joining the national team in Estonia, world No. 235 Ling Ching stunned several higher-ranked players such as Denmark’s Anna Bygum (No. 187), France’s Yaelle Hoyaux (No. 67) en route to a last-four finish.

“I gained some experience playing in Estonia but I still need to improve a lot in terms of skills and movement on court,” said Ling Ching.

The youngster, who idolises China’s reigning Olympic champion Chen Yufei, has set her sights on qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Firstly, I’m aiming to break into the top 60 by the end of this year. I also want to qualify for the Olympics,” said Ling Ching, who will compete in the Iran International Challenge from Jan 31-Feb 5 in Tehran.

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