SEPANG: Malaysia’s previous world junior champions have never made it big as a pair. But Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang are determined to end the trend.
The duo returned home yesterday after winning the boys’ doubles title in the championships at Pune on Sunday.
Hee Chun-Kok Siang, who are only the second Malaysian pair after Chan Chong Ming-Teo Kok Seng to win both the Asian and world junior titles in the same year, were greeted with a warm welcome at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president, Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, 50 Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) players and their families.
Under the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) new programme geared towards the 2012 London Olympics, Hee Chun-Kok Siang will be placed in the back-up squad but they will still come under the charge of doubles chief coach Rexy Mainaky.
And the 18-year-old Hee Chun hoped to up the momentum with Kok Siang in senior tournaments.
Heroes’ welcome: Mak Hee Chun (left) and Teo Kok Siang (third from left) posing with Bukit Jalil Sports School players at the KLIA Monday. — KEVIN TAN / The Star
“Most of our world junior champions did not last together. They were either given a new partner or they just faded away. I hope that Kok Siang and I will continue to improve as a pair,” he said.
Previous Malaysian winners in the World Juniors were all from doubles events Lim Khim Wah-Ng Hui Lin (mixed doubles, 2007), Tan Boon Heong-Hoon Thien How (boys’ doubles, 2004), Chan Chong Ming-Teo Kok Siang (boys’ doubles, 1998), Chong Ming-Jeremy Gan (boys’ doubles, 1996) and Chong Ming-Joanne Quay (mixed doubles, 1996).
“South Korean (Lee) Yong-dae started winning Open titles immediately after ending his junior career.
“Hopefully, Kok Siang and I will not wait too long to stamp our marks too.
“I am looking forward to training with the seniors after this,” said Hee Chun.
He singled out coach Jeremy as one of the most influential persons in the rise of his badminton career.
“He brings out the best in us but at the same time, he does not put undue pressure on us. I want to thank him for all he has done for me,” said Hee Chun, who was under Jeremy’s guidance for the last four years.
Kok Siang shared the same sentiments as Hee Chun as far as his future in the doubles was concerned.
“But the former has a dilemma — he is not ready to give up his love to play the singles.
“I would like to continue playing the doubles with Hee Chun.
“Hopefully, we will be able to win a Super Series title within the next two years. But I am still keen to play the singles,” said the 18-year-old Kok Siang, whose partnership with Hee Chun was only forged this year.
Tournaments lined up for them are the Johor Open (Nov 11-14) and Malaysia International Challenge (Nov 18-23) in Kota Kinabalu.
Kok Siang will also play the singles in the tournament in Kota Kinabalu.