GEORGE TOWN, Dec 27 — She may only be 15 years old but Goh Jin Wei has already made history as the first Malaysian female to win the Badminton World Junior Championship in Lima, Peru last month.
The soft-spoken teenager, who ranked fifth in the world, defeated fellow Malaysian Lee Ying Ying, 18, with 21-15, 21-16 scores within 35 minutes.
This year, Goh also won several other championships including the doubles in the Yonex Dutch Junior Open Championship 2015, women’s singles in the Yonex German Junior Open 2015, women’s singles in the Yonex Belgian International Championship 2015 and women’s singles in the Kawasaki-Tran Local Foods Vietnam International Series 2015.
She also won the gold for women’s singles in the Asean Schools Championship in Brunei on November 25 and a bronze at the SEA Games in Singapore last June.
The Bukit Mertajam girl started playing badminton at the age of six as a hobby before her father noticed her talent and let her train under Teh Beng Huat, Datuk Lee Chong Wei’s former coach.
She started winning national level tournaments from 11 years old onwards and today, she is in the national team being coached by former national player Wong Tat Meng and former singles female coach in Indonesia Rony Agustinus.
Here, Goh shares how she trained to be a national champion and her hopes for the future.
In her own words:
I started badminton training at six. In the beginning I played for fun, for entertainment. My dad and my mum, they encouraged me to play badminton. I trained at Berapit in the beginning and after that I joined the state team at 10 years old.
I dreamed to enter state team that time. I feel I will have better opportunities to compete in the state team. I like badminton, I can exercise and it’s a fun game for me. I watch top players playing in television and I admired them so I started playing to be like them.
Normally, I start training at 6am until 8am and then I go to school at 9am until 1pm. I go to school later. After that, I start training again at 2.30pm until 6pm. This is my training schedule on weekdays and on weekends I go to private tuition. Basically, one day on court training and one day physical training no matter in gym or track. I have to run 10km almost every day. I’ve been doing this since I was 13 when I joined Badminton Association of Malaysia.
I read a lot during my free time. My favourite book is the Guinness Book of World Records and I hope to be in that book one day. When I train I have to be very focused on my training, other than training time, I have to self study and go for private tuition. So, I have to juggle a lot. I’ll be going to science stream and my favourite subject is chemistry.
I have another ambition other than being an athlete. I want to be a scientist, to be involved in chemistry and science. For badminton, I hope to at least get a medal in Olympics. It is a dream for every athlete. I hope to do my best to reach my dream.
There was once when I’ve trained till I am so tired and I wondered why I’m doing this and I thought, maybe I should stop this and study instead. But I pushed it aside. I’ve thought of that only once, then I’ve to reset my thinking and have a positive mind to continue training.
I started getting some good results that time and that encouraged me a lot, gives me a lot of motivation. My mum also gave me a lot of motivation to continue training. She’s the one to take me to training and to school at SMK Seri Hartamas every day. I was previously in SMJK Jit Sin in Bukit Mertajam here.
My first tournament as a national player was Singapore Junior under-12 in 2010 and I got runner up. This time, I didn’t expect to win at all. I aimed for quarter final or maybe a bronze. The first time (in the world junior championship) I only got in last 32 and last year I lost in last 16 and this year I hoped to go into quarter final. I still don’t believe I won gold for it. It is so unexpected.
Next year, I will defend this title and I hope to get gold for Asian Junior because this year I got bronze for it. I look up to Nozomi Okuhara, she is my hero in badminton and I hope to be able to play like her in future. She’s only 155cm and she can get world champion. I’m 159cm.
Once you choose to be an athlete, you have to give your best so that you won’t regret it eventually. I will always try my best to achieve the best in it. I plan to play badminton until 30 but I will try to juggle between badminton and my studies too.