Youngster Norsyahliza shows nerves of steel in win over Louisa

KUALA LUMPUR: Debutant Norsyahliza Baharum suffered bruises on her knees when she fell during a jogging session on Sunday. 

But the 17-year-old Norsyahliza was least bothered by the injury yesterday. 

BRAVE GAL: Norsyahliza Baharum makes a return to HongKong’s Louisa Koon Wai Chee during their opening Group Amatch yesterday. Norsyahliza won 11-9, 11-6 to help Malaysiabeat Hong Kong 3-2.

Ranked only 325th in the world, Norsyahliza scored an upset win over world number 62 Louisa Koon Wai Chee, winning 11-9, 11-6 in the third singles match of Malaysia's opening Group A tie against third seeded Hong Kong at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium. 

The Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) student’s 40-minute victory helped Malaysia pull the rug from under the more fancied Hong Kong, winning the tie 3-2 win.  

It was definitely a memorable victory for the lanky Negri Sembilan lass. 

“We were asked to jog for 30 minutes around the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara in our last training session before the competition. I stepped on a huge nail and fell forward. I suffered bruises on my knees,” said Norsyahliza. 

“It was more painful this morning. But when coach (Misbun Sidek) told me that I will be playing the third singles, I had to shut out the pain. I went out there and gave my best shot.” 

Although she was playing in her first major tournament, Norsyahliza, who was the runner-up in the National Grand Prix Finals last month, showed nerves of steel and had the towering Wai Chee running all over the court. 

“I was nervous in the beginning but I did not let her intimidate me. I was quite tired in the second game and my legs felt heavy. But I just hung on. I certainly need to improve on my fitness level,” she said.  

“But I am glad that I played my part to help the team beat Hong Kong.  

“Hopefully, I will be able to give another good performance and win a point for the team against Japan tomorrow,” she added.