KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese New Year is the time for family reunions, angpow packets and mandarin oranges.
Although doubles shuttler Vivian Hoo will be taking a break to enjoy the celebration with family and friends, she is determined that the Year of the Horse will be the one where she and partner Woon Khe Wei achieve new milestones in their three-year partnership.
Winning a SEA Games gold medal last year was an awesome feat for Vivian but she is not one to rest on her laurels.
“Winning the SEA Games gold (in Myanmar in December) will always be special but that is in the past. I want to win something bigger and better than a SEA Games gold medal this year,” said the lanky 23-year-old.
Vivian and Khe Wei, currently ranked 16th in the world, have several opportunities to nail the big ones this year as they will be taking part in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (July), the World Championships in Copenhagen (August) and the Asian Games in Incheon (September).
Vivian is happy that her partnership with Khe Wei is back on the right track though.
“A year ago, we were not sure of our direction. Khe Wei was injured and we were just making up the numbers in competitions. But, since Khe Wei got back on her feet, we reached the All England quarter-finals last year (in March) and our fortunes have truly changed,” said Vivian.
“We are more solid as a pair. The training under coach Rosman (Razak) has also been great. He is understanding and he is working closely with the NSI (National Sports Institute) to raise our level of play.”
Vivian, who looks fitter, said that her focus now is to work from within to strengthen her partnership with Khe Wei.
“I am looking at areas to improve myself and handle pressure from within. I want to raise my standard of play to be on par with the world beaters. Every match that I play with Khe Wei must give us the satisfaction from within,” she said.
Vivian-Khe Wei’s immediate task is to ride high in the back-to-back European tournaments - the German Open from Feb 25-March 2 in Mulheim and the All England in Birmingham from March 4-9.
“We will start as an unseeded pair in these tournaments and as such we are bound to meet the top seeds in the earlier rounds. We are hoping to come out of every match as winners - knowing well that we threw every ounce of strength on the court.”
For these few days though, Vivian will be enjoying New Year treats with her family.
“Every year, I look forward to our family reunion dinner. My uncle is very creative and he tries to make it very special. This year, he designed a red hot football jersey for all of us - it was super cool. My grandma did all the cooking. I certainly cherish this time together with family.”
Vivian displays all the features of someone born in the Year of the Horse - a strong character focused on moving straightforward towards their goal.
With such characteristics, Vivian looks determined to gallop away to success.