The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) were vindicated in their decision to send up-and-coming national shuttlers to Europe after being rewarded with three titles from the Spanish International on Saturday.
In a time where the pandemic extensively crippled travel and expenditure, the national body would not have been questioned if they decided not to invest in costly trips to Europe.
But this month alone, the national team of mainly back-up shuttlers delivered handsomely, winning five titles in total from the Austrian Open and in Spain.
It went to show that giving the right exposure would pay dividends, with the young Malaysians eager to impress when given the opportunity.
S. Kisona was one of those shuttlers, after capturing the women’s singles title on Saturday by defeating team-mate Goh Jin Wei in straight games.
Kisona did not have a good start this year when she crashed out in the early rounds of the Thailand Open and All-England.
The BAM also withdrew her from the Spain Masters last month to give her more time to prepare for this tournament, which she delivered with aplomb.
“I must thank my coaches Indra Wijaya and Loh Wei Sheng for being patient with me. There is plenty for me to improve on, especially if I am to compete at higher level tournaments,” said the defending SEA Games champion.
Tee Kai Wun was another upcoming starlet deserving a special mention, having played back-to-back finals’ on the same day to win both the mixed and men’s doubles titles.
First teaming up with Teoh Mei Xing, they were pushed all the way by third seeds Callum Hemming-Jessica Pugh before they won 21-15, 13-21, 21-19 in 50 minutes.
It was a huge victory for the pair, who were playing together for the first time.
“I am more of a men’s doubles player, and do not focus on mixed doubles. In fact, Mei Xing and I hardly trained together. It was our first tournament together, and our opponents were strong.
“A change of strategy in the third game, after discussion with our coach worked out well in the end,” said Tee, who later went on to win the men’s doubles final with Man Wei Chong by beating French duo Lucas Corvee-Ronan Labar in straight games.
It was Tee-Man’s second title this year, having also won the Polish Open in March.
“Honestly, I did not think about fatigue. I was only focused on the match,” he added.
At the Austrian Open earlier this month, Malaysia won in the men’s and mixed doubles categories.