KUALA LUMPUR: Singles shuttler Tee Jing Yi did some extra training on her own prior to the Asian junior championships.
And the hard work and steely determination to prove that she can make a difference in the Malaysian team paid off yesterday.
The 18-year-old won an important point in Malaysia’s 3-1 victory over China in the mixed team final, beating Chen Xiaojia in the girls’ singles match.
Jing Yi, who failed to earn a promotion to the elite squad after struggling to find her footing last year, said that she became more determined to succeed after being sidelined.
“This is my last Asian Juniors. It is important for me to prove that I can play well after the disappointment last year,” she said.
Jing Yi failed to win a point in Malaysia’s semi-final defeat by South Korea in the mixed team competition last year and she crashed out in the early rounds of the individual competition.
“I know the weakness is in my leg. I am not as fast as the others. For the last three weeks, I arrived for training 30-45 minutes earlier to work on this area,” said Jing Yee.
“I also stayed back after training and to do push-ups and other physical training. The extra training certainly gave me some edge today.”
Jing Yi is grateful to Sun Chenhua, the chief coach of national junior squad, for his guidance.
“He has built me up to become a strong attacking player. Today, I am happy that I stuck to the game plan and minimised my mistakes. It is always nice to beat a player from China,” she said.
On her challenge in the individual events, Jing Yi said: “My best result was a quarter-final appearance in 2007. The challenge will be greater this time and hopefully, I will be able to make my last Asian Juniors a more memorable one by doing well in the individual competition.”
After the sensational showing in the mixed team event yesterday, Jing Yi had to make a quick return to the court in the afternoon for the individual competition and found the going tough in the first round of the girls’ singles event at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara.
A jaded Jing Yi took 45 minutes to beat Ching Hsu-ya of Taiwan 21-15, 18-21, 21-19 to set up a meeting with Tan Wei Han of Singapore.
Three others - Sonia Cheah, Florah Ng and Yang Li Lian - also joined Jing Yi in the second round after winning their opening round matches in straight games.