PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s reigning Asian juniors champion Soo Teck Zhi will be out to make amends for his disappointment in the mixed team badminton event when the boys’ singles event at the ongoing World Junior Championships starts in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Teck Zhi, who failed to deliver the crucial point for Malaysia in the tie against Indonesia in the quarter-finals of the mixed team event last week, is all pumped up to end his junior career on a high. He will not be eligible to play in next year’s world junior meet.
Said Teck Zhi: “I am ready to give my best for the country. I am feeling good and ready for the battle.”
In the individual competition starting Tuesday, Teck Zhi is the number one seed. He has received a first-round bye and will begin his campaign against Mexico’s Luis Garrido in the second round Wednesday.
The 18-year-old Teck Zhi suffered a shock defeat in the mixed team’s quarter-finals to Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie last week and is itching to bounce back.
He is drawed with Pannawit Thongnuam (Thailand), Ihsan Mustofa (Indonesia), Justin Teeuwan (Holland), Fabian Roth (Germany), Shi Yuqi (China), Heo Kwang-hee (South Korea) and Harsheel Dani (India). His biggest threat will be second-seeded Thammasin Sitthikom of Thailand who is in the other half of the draw.
The two have met twice – with each having won once. It will certainly be a great showdown if they do meet in the final.
In Thammasin’s draw are Soong Joo Ven and Lim Chi Wing (Malaysia), Mark Caljouw (Holland), Wang Tzu-wei (Taiwan), Jeon Hyuk-jin (South Korea), Aditya Joshi (India) and Adam Mendrek (Germany).
Team manager Tan Kim Her revealed that despite Teck Zhi’s defeat in the mixed team event, he believes the youngster has learnt his lesson and will emerge stronger in the individual event.
“The coaches are not piling the pressure on Teck Zhi. He is still a kid and we wouldn’t want to burden him with pressure at that age as he still has a bright future ahead of him,” said Kim Her.
“We hope Teck Zhi will take it one game at a time and focus on his game plan. We know he will give his best. At the end of the day we all hope this tournament will benefit Teck Zhi and everyone else in the team.”