The Olympic dream is not over until the fat lady sings, for women's singles shuttler, Soniia Cheah.
On Sunday, Soniia, along with four others — Vivian Hoo (women's doubles), Goh Soon Huat, Shevon Lai and Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles) — were dropped from the national squad, following a performance review by BAM.
While it is understandable to part ways with some of the players, the national body's decision came as a surprise to Soniia, as she has technically qualified for the Tokyo Games by virtue of being the highest ranked Malaysian women's singles.
Still, the 28-year-old took the news in her stride and has vowed to continue giving her best, even as a professional.
"Many are saying that the Olympics may not even take place this year, but it's not over for me until it is truly over.
"I still want to play," Soniia told Timesport yesterday.
After suffering a career-threatening injury in 2013, Soniia fought back hard and is now ranked No 32 in the world.
All the five dropped players will remain and train at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) until the end of the month, but Soniia, is already sourcing for new sponsors.
"I need to get all the help I can get. Equipment, allowances, competition and travel expenditure. It's not going to be easy.
"On top of that, with the ongoing pandemic, nobody would want to simply throw money.
"But I don't want to give up badminton yet. I still want to play, so I have to go all out to get my sponsors," added Soniia.
Although nothing is confirmed, it is understood that Soniia will be allowed to compete in the Swiss Open (March 2-7) and German Open (March 9-14).
Both tournaments offer valuable Olympic qualifying points and will also mark the start of the 2021 season. - New Straits Times
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