Hard working Josephine taking one step at a time


THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Josephine polishing her skills at SMK Sacred Heart Squash Court.

SIBU: Never mind that she has been playing bridesmaid during the CIMB Rising Star National Junior Squash (RSNJS) championship but that will only spur Josephine Yii to train and work harder to excel.

The 13-year-old student of SMK Methodist is determined to stand on the podium one day to emulate the success of her squash idol and world No. 1 Datuk Nicol David.

“It will be my dream come true if I can ultimately reach that stage but it is a huge mountain to climb and I need to work extremely hard in order to attain success,” she said when interviewed.

Josephine took part in the recent CIMB RSNJS third leg held in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur and made it to the Girls’ Under 13 final, only to lose to Aifa Azman of Kedah 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-9).

“I was trying very hard but in the end, my inexperience and lack of fitness cost me the title and I lost to a much better and stronger player,” she conceded.

Yii admitted she still has a long way to go before she could dethrone Aifa, the U13 national No. 1, but she was not about to throw in the towel.

“I will continue to polish my game, improve my fitness and, hopefully, will be able to rise to the challenge when the time comes.”

In the CIMB RSNJS first leg held in Bukit Jalil last January, Josephine achieved her breakthrough when she secured the third placing.

The win spurred her to work harder and during the CIMB RSNJS second leg held in Malacca last March, Josephine lost to Aifa 6-11,7-11, 8-11 in the final showdown.

The result of the third leg or grand final again favored Aifa, causing further heartbreak to Josephine but she promised to come back stronger and make amends in future tournaments.

“I have been working hard with my Pakistani coach Awais Amir to assess my shortcomings and, hopefully, I will be able to turn the tables on Aifa when the time comes.”

Josephine will be promoted to the U15 category next year when more skilful and stronger opponents await.

They include the likes of the Ooi Kah Yien from Negri Sembilan, Chan Yee Wen from Kedah and Lai Wen Lee from Sabah.

All of them, including Aifa, are future stars to watch and represent the next generation of players who are set to make waves in the squash fraternity.

Josephine took up squash at the age of nine and it all came spontaneously.

It happened that her father, William Yii, brought her to SMK Sacred Heart to play badminton one day and the curious girl asked to go to look at the squash court which was located nearby.

Once she was inside the court, the then squash coach told her to try squash.

Since then, she has actively participated in the squash championships, both at the state and national levels.

Thus far, her best performance was the second placing in the 2nd and final leg of the CIMB RSNJS.

Her next big tournament will be the Ong Beng Hee Cup which will be held in October in Kuala Lumpur.

Josephine is racing against time and she is hoping to get at least something from the prestigious tournament where most of the top players in the country will participate.