MEETING a top player in a preliminary round clash is a living nightmare for rising youngsters who are aiming for their breakthrough but national women’s shuttler K. Letshanaa (pic) is a different breed altogether.
Letshanaa, making her debut at the Asian Games, received a first-round bye and will be playing the experienced Thai shuttler Busanan Ongbamrungphan, a former world No. 10, in the women’s singles second round at the Binjiang Gymnasium today.
However, the 20-year-old Letshanaa sees it as an opportunity to learn from the shuttler while also looking forward to progressing to the last 16.
Letshanaa, ranked world No. 59, has met a few top five players in tournaments this year and the one she had always cherished was a meeting against the current world No. 1 An Se-young of South Korea during the Sudirman Cup clash in Suzhou, China, in May. Despite losing, Letshanaa said it was a learning experience and made her a better player and the Selangor-born 20-year-old will take the same approach when she plays Busanan.
“I’m an up-and-coming player, so it’s a very good experience and exposure for me to compete against these seasoned professionals,” said Letshanaa.
“It is my first match against her (Busanan), I’ve always believed in myself and the most important thing is to bring out my game and play what I’ve prepared during training.”
One aspect Letshanaa would need to do during her match is to adapt to the court fast as this will be the first competitive match she will be playing at the Binjiang Gymnasium as Malaysia did not compete in the women’s team event that concluded on Sunday.
“I couldn’t test the courts because the team event was still going on. I will try my best to adapt during the match.”
If Letshanaa managed to secure an upset, she is likely to meet Nguyen Thuy Linh of Vietnam in the last 16 which would present the Malaysian a golden opportunity to make the quarter-finals at the Asiad.