KUALA LUMPUR: Youngsters Kwek Yee Jian-Man Wei Chong were lucky enough to be absorbed into the BA of Malaysia (BAM), and they now want to make the best of it at the World Junior Championships in Yogyakarta next week.
The 18-year-old boys’ doubles shuttlers, formerly under the Looi Badminton Academy, were recently roped into the national squad to help strengthen the men’s doubles department.
Their first major assignment, however, will be to impress Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) coach Kwan Yoke Meng at the world junior meet.
“We are very lucky, because we made it into the national squad just in time for the world juniors. It is different when you come under the national governing body,” said Yee Jian, who hails from Johor.
“I have been with Looi for the past three years and it has always been my dream to represent Malaysia. That time has now come. This will be my first time competing at the World Junior Championships, but Wei Chong was part of the squad last year. It won’t be easy, but I’m hoping to impress the coaches by reaching the semi-finals.”
Asked to comment on the recent ruling by BAM, which limits the participation of independent shuttlers to GP tournaments and below, Yee Jian reiterated that the pair were lucky to make the national squad at the right time.
“I am not saying that playing at Looi was a bad thing for me. My success at the grassroots level is because of them. However, the quality of training and the facilities provided by the national body is way better.
“The sparring quality is also way higher here. This is the best way to reach greater heights.”
The 19 junior players and six officials, including team manager Janih Bangud, will head to Indonesia on Saturday.