Interview with Lee Wan Wah
Soong Joo Ven Most of them played badminton at an early age, representing their schools at the start then slowly rising through the ranks from district player to state and finally being noticed by the national team.
All of them were unknown to the World then, not until they made the breakthrough in the international scene through sheer hard work and determination and of course talent plays a part as well. And most importantly, they took the chance when there was an opening and this separates the players who made it and those who doesn't.
Any great player will still have to retire one day and their standing in the world of badminton will be replaced by other young players just like them when they were younger. So who will be the next great player? Time will tell...
For today, it's a great pleasure for Badminton-Information.com to interview Soong Joo Ven a young rising star player from Malaysia. He was born in 1995 and currently is a member of the Malaysia national team's men singles back up squad. Joo Ven is currently the top junior singles players in Malaysia.
1. How old are you now?
17 years old
2. At what age did you start playing badminton?
I started at 6 years old, playing just for fun. At the age of 8 years old I started professional training.
3. Is badminton your number 1 passion and interest?
4. Were you good in other sports as well or badminton was just 'it?
Not really, only badminton
5. Which state did you represented before being drafted to the National Team?
I represented the Selangor state team at the age of 11 years old and at the age of 13 years old I was drafted in as a national junior.
6. And you were drafted in because you won some national championships?
They selected me when I won the National Junior Grand Prix Final when I was 12 years old in 2007.
7. Was it your intention to be a professional player from the start?
I always watch Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan games. They are my inspirations.
8. How do you find the route of becoming a national player for Malaysia, easy or extremely hard?
It's extremely hard, we have top players at the world ranking.
9. What has been the most difficult barrier for you to overcome in order to become a professional badminton player?
First of all, I need to handle all kinds of pressure. When I'm playing well, everyone is expecting results from me. So that's the main barrier I need to overcome.
10. Have you ever thought of quitting?
Yes actually *Joo Ven laughs*, this year I thought of quitting when I got second in the Asian Junior Championship where I was the favourite, after that tournament I was playing quite badly but now I'm coming back.
11. Are you playing and training full time now?
Yes, I'm training fulltime with BAM.
12. Are you enjoying it?
Yes of course .
13. Are you happy with your progress in the game so far?
Yeah I'm quite happy.
14. Have you ever considered playing in doubles?
Maybe, if I couldn't make it in singles, I would switch to doubles in the future.
15. Do you feel any pressure from your coach or BAM that one day you will have to fill in the void left by Lee Chong Wei, Wong Choong Han and etc. once they retire?
They will pressure me, especially my coach will push me in training and tournaments so that I can do well in future to overtake the seniors. BAM will also support me and full fill my dreams.
16. How hard is it to fill in the shoes of these senior players especially when you have players like Chong Wei who is currently world No.1?
Owh (laughs), Lee Chong Wei has not won World Championship or the Olympic Games but he has won the All England Championship twice. That would be very hard to follow his footsteps. Winning the World Championship and Olympic Gold, that's my target. These are the 2 titles he hasn't won, so this is what keeps me going.
17. Which other young players are being groomed just like you at this stage to take over from the senior players?
There are few of us. Our group is quite competitive. We have a few strong players like Chong Yi Han, Tan Kian Meng and Soo Teck Zhi.
18. There is currently still a big gap to fill between the young players and the senior players. Why is it so?
When we are during our junior days, we have lack of power, confidence and experience.
19. In your view, what can be done to close this gap and help more young players like you to succeed in the international level?
For me, I would need to train harder physically to match the seniors.
20. A lot of people say that at the moment, there is no one in Malaysia capable of filling in the shoes of Lee Chong Wei. Being a young Malaysian player yourself, whats your view on this?
To follow his steps is really hard. He has won almost every Super Series titles. I think it's still possible as he has not won the World Championship or the Olympic Games. It's still tough. Lee Chong Wei is really a legend in badminton Malaysia.
21. To become a successful player, a lot of sacrifices have to be made. Do you think it is worthwhile?
Yes I've sacrifice a lot of my time. We do have rest time on Sunday. To really enjoy life like going fishing which is my hobby, I can do that when I retire.
22. What do you think of the new rally points scoring system?
21 points scoring system is very fast, it's like ping pong. You need speed and power.
23. Currently which player you admire the most, both at the local and the international scene?
I'll have to say Lin Dan because I love his style and he's the greatest player of all time.
24. Who do you regard as the all time best player?
25. What is your strength in your game?
26. Which part of your game can be improved?
Speed and Power is what I need to improve. Physical strength is one of main weakness.
27. What do you think of the Malaysia badminton scene? Is it going uphill or downhill?
It's quite okay. Liew Darren just won the French Open and Chong Wei Feng is doing quite well recently on the International scene.
28. China seems to be producing young players in abundance capable to challenge for international honours. Why do you think so?
Most of the players in China, they sacrifices a lot in badminton such as their studies and they are physically very strong. But there a lot of other countries coming up such as Hong Kong, Thailand,
29. Is the gap really that big between Malaysia badminton and China?
Overall they are still stronger than us. Team to team they are stronger than us
30. Do you personally think Malaysia Badminton can recapture its previous glory?
Yes, it's an uphill task. But I do hope Malaysia would win the Thomas Cup again one day.
31. How is the coaching standard in Malaysia?
It think is quite professional because its our national sport. In the national team they brought in a few Indonesian and China coaches and they are qualified coaches.
32. What is your current training regime like?
We trained every day. Monday to Saturday, Sunday is our only off day. Every morning session would be 6am to 8am and in the evening 2.30pm to 6pm. I'll wake up around 5.20am, every morning.
33. What is your advice for other aspiring badminton players?
They need to sacrifice a lot of their time in training. To follow the footsteps of Dato Lee Chong Wei is extremely hard.
34. Do you consider being a professional badminton player a rewarding career?
Yes and I'm considering.
35. When do you expect a breakthrough on the international scene?
Maybe around 19 to 20 years old, after junior age we should make a break through. In fact, most of the top players did it. For example, Chen Long and Kenichi Tago.
36. What is your aspiration as a badminton player? What would you like to achieve?
To win the Olympic and World Championship.
37. What's your highlight of your career at the moment?
I won an international series in Thailand this year, which is a senior event and I reached the Asian Junior Finals.
38. What is your immediate aim?
To win International Challenge tournaments.
39. How confident are you in becoming Malaysia No.1 singles player?
Joo Ven laughs, yeah I'm around 60 percent confident but there's still a long way for me to go.
40. Badminton - Information.com are planning to start a badminton league. Do think it will increase the level of players especially the back-up players and do you support the league?
It's very good actually. It's good exposure for young players as there many upcoming countries having leagues.
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