KUCHING (June 24): Up and coming paddler Joanne Chen Yu Xi made a promising debut representing Malaysia at the 26th Southeast Asia Junior and Cadet Table Tennis Championships in Bangkok, Thailand from June 16 to 20.
The 15-year old student of SMK Kuching High won a bronze in the Junior Girls U15 team event with compatriots Gan Ai Lis and Wong Min Le after losing 0-3 to Thailand in the semifinals.
Malaysia finished joint third with Indonesia which lost to Singapore by the same margin in the other semi-final.
Joanne reached the round of 32 in the individual singles competition and made the last eight in the doubles.
She won this category in the Sarawak State Selection and was ranked No. 2 in the National Selection.
“This is a good achievement for Joanne. There is much room for improvement and she needs to continue to work very hard to become a better player,” said Betong Division Table Tennis chairman James Chen Chun Hong, who is Joanne’s father.
He revealed that they will be sitting down with Joanne’s coach Thomas Tay to discuss how to further improve her game and send her to more exposure competitions.
“I would also like to thank our committee members and coaches for helping develop junior players like Joanne and thanks also goes to Table Tennis Association of Sarawak and Sarawak Sports Corporation for their strong support in sending players for competitions outside the state.
“I personally feel that our players must dare to dream of achieving big goals in their journey towards the top.
“If they continue to train hard and work hard, l cannot see why they cannot succeed in making their dream become a reality one day,” he added and expressed the hope to see more Sarawak players selected to the national team and play at junior tournaments in SEA and Asia.