KUALA LUMPUR: National singles shuttler Yang Li Lian has been a straight-A student in all the major examinations.
So, it came as a big surprise when the 20-year-old decided to defer her A-levels in a bid to pass with flying colours on the badminton court instead.
She said it was time for her to concentrate fully on badminton and lift the national women’s singles department out of the doldrums.
Currently, women singles in the country is in a sorry state with only a few good players left in the stable. Besides Li Lian, the others in the team are Tee Jing Yi, Sonia Cheah, Lim Yin Fun and Lim Chiew Sien.
Her move to put badminton in the driving seat has seen immediate results.
On Saturday, she made it to the women’s singles final for the first time in a local tournament when she defeated Lim Yin Fun 21-10, 21-12 in just 31 minutes in the semi-finals of the Kuala Lumpur Open at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton (KLBA) Stadium.
She will take on 22-year-old Jing Yi in the final and is quietly hoping to land her first senior title.
“It was not an easy decision for me to defer my studies this year but my parents were very supportive,” said Li Lian, who scored 7As in the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and 9As in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
She put her A-levels studies at the Help Institute on hold after a year.
“I found it difficult to balance both – studies and sport. I was tired and could not concentrate on my studies after a hard day’s training. I decided to give my badminton career a shot first,” said the demure shuttler.
“My coaches – Wong Tat Meng and Ronny Agustinus are very encouraging and supportive too. I know that the women’s singles department is going through a tough time but I hope our fans will be patient.
“Our team is relatively young. For now, we need the exposure and more training. We are committed to train hard. And I know that hard work will eventually pay off,” added Li Lian, who vows to give Jing Yi a good fight on Sunday.