TOP Malaysian women’s singles shuttler Wong Mew Choo almost gave up badminton at one point this year. Luckily, others had faith in her ability.
And that led her to end a two-year title drought at the Super Series Masters Finals in Johor Baru three days ago.
And yesterday, after arriving in Laos, she was singing praises of the “pillars” behind her successful comeback after struggling to find her footing over the last two years.
And with renewed confidence, she will be out to keep the momentum going in the SEA Games.
Mew Choo, the 2007 China Open champion, became US$40,000 richer after winning the Masters Finals crown but, to her, it was not all about the money.
“Not many know the difficulties and struggles I had to go through over the last two years,” she said.
“I was not producing any results after the China Open even though I had worked hard in training. Injuries were a big problem for me.
“I wanted to give up but my family, coach (Misbun Sidek) and team-mates stood behind me. They continued to believe in me when I was doubtful. That was really comforting.
“And I guess that was why I was so emotional when I won the Masters Finals title the other day. I cried because it meant so much to me and I just let go of all my pent-up feelings.”
Since her famous win at the China Open, an injury-prone Mew Choo sank into oblivion by losing in early rounds in most of the Open tournaments.
On top of that, the break-up with world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei was also a distraction off court.
But there were signs of revival, ironically, in the China Open last month when she defied the odds to beat All-England champion Wang Yihan of China in the second round.
“Winning the China Open two years ago was outstanding but winning the Masters Finals was something else. It spells new hope for me,” said Mew Choo.
“It is not easy to rebuild one’s confidence when one has lost it. But my coach, my family and friends stood by my side during the dark days of my badminton career ... I am very grateful.”
Mew Choo now wants to have a good time in the Laos Games.
“The women’s team and I will learn to enjoy ourselves in Vientiane. Of course, we want to do well and give the country something to cheer about. We will support each other,” said Mew Choo, who was the gold medallist in the 2003 Games in Vietnam.
The team competition begins on Friday and the individual events start on Monday.