Youngster K. Letshanaa may seem like the odd one out, but she can go far once she breaks out of it.
National women’s singles head coach Indra Wijaya believes the 17-year-old should not be disheartened by her current predicament but instead use it as a motivation to achieve greater heights.
The Selangor-born shuttler has got an arrangement with the BA of Malaysia (BAM), where she only follows one training session daily.
This is because Letshanaa stays with her family and she studies outside, unlike the rest who are based at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara.
“Yes, Letshanaa may seem like the odd one out because she did not come through the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) like the rest.
“It will take some time for her to get along.
“On top of that, she doesn’t live here with the rest. Only on Fridays she stays over to join the Saturday morning training. The rest of the week, she is with her parents.
“However, I don’t think she is left out on purpose. I came up with the programme and it is inclusive.
“It is tough to fit in but if she can break out of this, I believe she can go far,” Indra said yesterday.
Many have compared Letshanaa with former national No 1 Goh Jin Wei, who was also a prodigy before she was roped into the national senior squad.
In fact, Letshanaa is still eligible to compete in the World Junior Championships next year.
When asked if Letshanaa could go on to win the title like Jin Wei, who did it twice in 2015 and 2018, Indra said: “Personally, I don’t like comparing players. Everyone’s progress is different.
“Letshanaa is still eligible to play in the world juniors and I think it’s a great deal for her to be already be playing with the big girls.
“Yes, she may not be following our programme full time yet, but something is better than nothing.”
It is understood that Letshanaa will join the national training programme full time once she is done with her SPM this year.
The other players under Indra currently are Soniia Cheah, S. Kisona, Jin Wei, Eoon Qi Xuan and Lee Ying Ying.