Badminton’s favourite son Datuk Lee Chong Wei was all smiles this morning.
The former world No 1, who is recovering from nose cancer, woke up to discover a player he predicted would become a force in the sport is slowly living up to her potential.
Goh Jin Wei, 18, who was beating girls two to three years older when she was playing in the national junior circuit eight years ago, clinched her second world junior title this morning.
This comes a month after she won the gold medal at the Youth Olympics.
What makes the win extra special is that Goh and Lee shared the same first coach – Teh Peng Huat.
“I am very happy for her. Both of us grew up in Bukit Mertajam so it is always good to have someone from my ‘kampung’ winning titles,” said a jovial Lee.
“She has proven to be consistent but this is just the start.”
“She will step up to the senior level now and that is where she has to work even harder to succeed.”
Goh clinched her second world title by beating Denmark’s Line Christophersen 21-13, 21-11 to reclaim the girls’ singles crown at the World Junior Championships in Markham, Canada.
That was some bad news, however, as Toh Ee Wei-Pearly Tan Koong Le went down 16-21, 16-21 to China’s Liu Xuanxuan-Xia Yuting in the girls’ doubles final.
Goh’s affinity for Pan-America is strong as her first world title came in 2015 when she defeated compatriot Lee Ying Ying in Lima, Peru.
The Youth Olympics gold medal was won in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I am very happy to have ended by juniors career with a title,” said Goh, who won the gold medal at the 2017 SEA Games.
“I cannot believe it has been three years since I won my first world junior title. But I have to start looking ahead now.”
Her next target is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the qualifying period beginning in May.
This is something Lee believes Goh can achieve but only if she gets the full backing of everyone in the sport.
“She has to play in more international tournaments from next year. I feel she can qualify for the 2020 Olympics,” said Lee.
“But having said that, I feel her best bet to win a medal is 2024.”
“She has the self-belief and great potential to dominate badminton. We must make sure she gets all the support she needs.”