Despite not being able to end the year with a bang, national mixed doubles shuttler Shevon Jemie Lai believes the challenges she and partner Goh Soon Huat faced this year will be a motivator for them to achieve greatness in 2020.
The pair can be considered one of the better performers in the national team this year after qualifying for the All England, Fuzhou China Open and Hong Kong Open semi-finals, as well as reaching the Korea Masters and SEA Games finals.
In the SEA Games final in the Philippines, they took on fancied Indonesian pair Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti that ultimately swung in favour of their opponents, who won 19-21, 21-19, 23-21.
Contributing a fourth badminton gold medal to the national contingent and picking up their first title of the year would have been great, but Lai believes the best is yet to come.
"I believe this year has helped us build our trust for one another and for the challenges ahead. It’s not going to be easy but we are ready.
"More importantly, we learnt to appreciate every opportunity. The results will come," she told NST Sports
Not making it easier this year was Goh's series of injuries, which meant they had to forgo a few tournaments and were unable to rank higher than current ranking eighth in the world.
As a result, they also missed out on the recently concluded BWF World Tour Finals.
"That period [of Goh's injuries] was challenging for us, mentally, emotionally, and it tested our faith and trust for each other.
"It got to a point where we both lost hope because it wasn’t just injury after injury, but the doctor’s diagnosis was also serious.
"Treatment for Soon Huat was going to take more time. Thankfully, things got better," she added.
The pair will begin the 2020 season on home turf, with the Malaysia Masters set to become the curtain raiser on the BWF calendar when it begins on January 7.