KUALA LUMPUR: Doubles shuttler Teo Kok Siang is one of the most talented players with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM). Unfortunately, a series of bad luck has halted his progress over the last three years.
It may have impeded his progress but it certainly hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm nor desire to dream big.
Yesterday, Kok Siang, with a scar on his forehead and an ugly mark on his right hand, was a picture of steely determination as he underwent rehabilitation following a car crash on the eve of the Chinese New Year that left him with multiple fractures on his right hand as well as injuries to his head, which needed more than 20 stitches.
That wasn’t the first time that he suffered such a misfortune. During the 2011 Chinese New Year, he took a knock on his knee during training and had to undergo surgery, which ruled him out of action for six months.
In 2012, he played with five different partners as the coaches tinkered with the pairings.
Last year, he was paired up with Goh V Shem but their two-month partnership ended after the Myanmar SEA Games. He was then told to partner Ow Yao Han.
“I may be one of the unluckiest players around,” said Kok Siang, who was the boys’ doubles champion with Mak Hee Chun in both the 2008 Asian Junior and World Junior Championships.
“In the recent accident, I was in the passenger seat when a car from the opposite direction crashed into ours head-on. Fortunately, nothing happened to my father and brother.
“Over the last few years, things have not turned out well for me. Each time I hope to start afresh with my partner, something happens.
“For now, I just want to focus on my rehabilitation programme. I did well in my junior days but that’s in the past. I’m still highly motivated to make a name in the senior ranks,” added Kok Siang, who is expected to resume training in three months’ time.
While Kok Siang is still trying to re-establish himself on the international stage, most of the players from his junior batch are already world-class players.
The year that he won the Asian and world junior titles with Hee Chun also saw China’s Wang Zhengming nailing a double – winning the boys’ singles titles in both junior meets.
In that same year, China’s Li Xuerui emerged as the Asian junior girls’ champion while India’s Saina Nehwal nicked the girls’ world junior title.
Zhengming is now ranked ninth in the world. In women’s singles, 2012 Olympic Games champion Li Xuerui is now the world No. 1 while Saina is world No. 7.