https://www.sukankl.comDefending the Sea Games gold may be too much to ask, but there is no stopping youngster Justin Hoh from dreaming big.
Having missed out on a list of junior tournaments, including the last two editions of the World Junior Championships due to Covid-19, the 2019 Asian Youth Under-17 men’s singles champion could not have asked for a better breakthrough than to be included in the Hanoi Sea Games squad this year.
Despite the absence of 2019 champion Lee Zii Jia and other top local stars, who will be competing in the Thomas Cup in Bangkok, Justin, 18, prefers focusing on impressing his selectors as he has already set his sights on future events.
“I cannot be more grateful to BAM for selecting me for the Sea Games.
“This is a huge milestone for me since I joined the national junior squad at 13.
“I have never played in a team event before, and even as a junior, my biggest tournament was the 2019 Asian Youth.
“My target is to gain as much experience as I can from Hanoi and gear myself up for the Asian and World Junior Championships this year — that is my short term goal.
“My long-term goal would be to play in the Thomas Cup, World Championships and Olympics,” said Justin, who is the youngest member of the Sea Games squad also comprising 22-year-old Lim Chong King, Lee Shun Yang and Jacky Kok.
The doubles players in the squad are Man Wei Chong, Tee Kai Wun, Wan Arif Wan Junaidi, Haikal Nazri, Hoo Pang Ron and Chen Tang Jie.
Over the past week, Justin, who comes under the care of national development director Misbun Sidek, had a chance to train with the Thomas Cup-bound players like Ng Tze Yong, Leong Jun Hao and Liew Daren.
Admitting that he still has a long way to go, Justin cherished the experience he gained and is eager to hit the ground running.
“There is still a huge gap when I compare myself to players like Daren, but that’s okay.
“I still have time to improve myself.
“I need to sharpen my hand speed and tactical game. Those are my two areas of concern.
“Hopefully, I will get better with more exposure,” added the Kuala Lumpur-born.
BAM have yet to confirm the two singles players for the men’s singles event in Hanoi but are expected to do so this week.
At the 2019 Manila edition, Malaysia bagged three gold medals through Zii Jia, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles) and S.Kisona (women’s singles).