PETALING JAYA: With or without training, national junior boy’s singles shuttler Jacky Kok Jing Hong (pic) is sticking to his targets of getting a medal each in the Asian and World Junior championships this year.

He has not been able to train or compete in any tournaments now due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Asian Junior Championships is scheduled to take place in Suzhou, China from July 11-19 while the world meet – both the mixed and individual events – are from Sept 28-Oct 11 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Jacky’s motivation and drive to do well in badminton is understandable as he has reached a career-high of No. 3 in the world junior rankings, thanks to his superb German Junior Open title victory earlier this month.

He had hoped to continue with his momentum in the back-to back senior international series tournaments in New Zealand – the North Harbour International (March 19-22) and Waikato International (March 26-29) but both tournaments were called off following the worsening Covid-19 situation.

Jacky, who has been following the programmes by junior squad supremo Datuk Misbun Sidek and doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang, said he would keep his spirit high.

“My teammates and I felt a bit letdown after we could not go and compete in New Zealand. Now, we can’t even train, ” said Jacky.

“I am not used to this. I can’t wait to return to my normal routine of training and going for competitions as soon as possible.”

For now, the 18-year old is trying his best to maintain his fitness back home in Alor Setar while he waits eagerly for the green light to return to training.

“My gym instructors, Tommy Pang and Koh Weat Teck have instructed me to work on some exercises to keep fit and I am doing that now, ” said Jacky.

Despite the minimal training, Jacky is all out to perform well in the World and Asian Junior meets but knows that he has to be patient like his idols Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Kento Momota of Japan if he is to succeed.

“We have to take it slow as the coaches will not let us compete as soon as we return to training, ” said Jacky.

“Chong Wei and Momota have gone through testing periods in their careers but they always fight back when the time is right.

Chong Wei was given an eight-month backdated ban for doping while Momota was suspended for a year for gambling.

Momota is now recovering from an accident but still remains the favourite to capture the Tokyo Olympics gold medal in his backyard this year.

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