youth olympian of the week

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 July, 2010, 12:00am
 

Name Tam Chun-hei
Sport Badminton

Chun-hei, 17, is a member of the Hong Kong badminton team. He was the champion of both the men's singles and doubles at the Bank of China Hong Kong Youth Badminton Championships 2008.

He represented Hong Kong at this year's BWF World Junior Championships for the Bimantara Cup (individual) and Suhandinata Cup (team) in Guadalajara, Mexico. He also played in the German Junior 2010 and Macau Grand Prix Gold last year.

How he qualified

'I qualified for the Youth Olympic Games [YOG] through the Asian Junior Championships held in March this year,' Chun-hei says.

'I didn't win many matches in the championships, but I qualified for the YOG because my performance was better when compared with other players of the same age. I was told that I would be going to the Games just before the deadline for the qualifying period.'

Soundbite

'Last year I won the qualifying rounds of the Macau Grand Prix Gold and was promoted to the men's singles main draw,' he says.

'I faced former world number 1, Wong Choong Hann, in the first round. I lost to the Malaysian 10-21, 9-21, in 21 minutes. That was the first time I had played in a senior tournament and the first time I had faced a top player.

'I slipped when I was playing in a local championship last month and hurt my ankle. It still hurts when I walk. My injury has affected my preparations for the YOG. But I am having physiotherapy and hopefully I can resume training very soon.'

From his coach

'Chun-hei is very devoted to badminton and that is why our coaches promoted him to the senior team. We are pleased that he will be able to take on top junior players in the upcoming YOG, and we are hoping that he can go through to the quarter-finals,' says Hong Kong badminton coach Liu Zhiheng. 'He is aggressive on court and has good tactics. But he needs to do more workouts to make his body stronger and his shots more powerful.'

Insight into the Games

'Before I turned professional last August, I was playing in the junior elite squad,' Chun-hei says.

'I have improved my speed after 10 months of full-time training. This is very important if I am going to perform well. I am not very familiar with the format of badminton matches at the YOG, but I'm sure I can work out a plan with my coach before I go to Singapore.'

Kevin Kung will be reporting all the YOG action from Singapore for Young Post

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