KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 ― Malaysian Deaf Sports Association (MSDEAF) in collaboration with Perangsang Selangor, has nominated two deaf, Boon Wei Ying and Muhammad Syafiq Hassan for the Deaflympics championship next year.
Both players are currently undergoing extensive training under the supervision of coach and former national shuttler Sabrina Chong following the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Wei Ying, 26, a former Melaka state player, who initially competed in the abled category, opted to compete in the Deaflympic competition after losing her hearing ability owing to nerve issues when she was 15 years old.
After winning a silver medal at the Fifth Asia Pacific Deaf Badminton in 2018 for Mixed Doubles and a bronze for Women Singles at the Fifth World Deaf Badminton Championship in 2019, Wei Ying is currently looking forward to Deaflympics 2022 in Brazil.
Speaking to Malay Mail through a sign language interpreter, Wei Ying said that she is targeting a gold in Mix Doubles and Women Singles for the country which she failed to secure in the previous championship due to hearing difficulties.
“When I play badminton, I can’t hear anything and communication with my partner was a little bit difficult as at that time I was partnering with an abled category player.
“My reaction was very slow because of my inability to hear.
“Now I’m used to playing with the deaf category players.
She was thankful to her family and friends for encouraging her to excel in her career, which kept her motivated to beat opponents from other countries.
She said that her coach managed to provide home-based training via online such as observing gaming techniques and strategies from YouTube videos despite missing the face-to-face training session in the court, in order to develop her badminton abilities.
Wei Ying said that the online training helped her improve her athletic skills and physical as well as mental strength.
Meanwhile, Syafiq, who is making his international debut, revealed that he is excited to represent Malaysia at the Deaflympics 2022 with Wei Ying.
The Kelantan native shuttler stressed on his aim to win a gold medal, adding that he has fully recovered from a recent tendon injury and will be able to play in his first competition in five months.
Via his interpreter, Lucy Lim, he said he has been putting in a lot of work and was enthusiastic about his preparation and ready to give his all for Malaysia.
He said that Chong has helped him improve his game by identifying his weaknesses in order to prevent losing points during a match.
Syafiq praised MSDEAF for being helpful and providing effective training compared to the previous trainings.
“Last time, the training was not so effective but I’m grateful that under the MSDEAF programme, we are being provided technical support, enhancing our stamina and also giving us the motivation to push ourselves to have the ability to compete with fighting spirit.
“I had a tendon tear and I had to see the medical personnel. I’m glad that I’m fully recovered now.
“For now I’m not only focusing on playing intensely but also looking after my health and trying not to have any injuries.”
Chong, who has been coaching them since 2019, explained that communication was the main issue she had when coaching them until she mastered sign language to help with the learning process and to motivate them whenever they get demotivated.
“For me, I treat them like they are abled players just that communication wise it’s slightly different.
“They get demotivated easily, especially Boon Wei Ying as she’s coming here after work and mentally tired.
“That’s when she shows her emotions. When she is down, we need to sit down and talk to her and explain what she did was wrong,” she explained.
She mentioned that Syafiq has come a long way since he first started working with her.
Chong said MSDEAF was previously unsupported by any association and had to rely on private finance until Perangsang Selangor stepped forward to collaborate and sponsor Syafiq and Wei Ying under the MSN banner.
MSDEAF adviser and former national badminton player, Jason Wong complimented Perangsang Selangor for lending a helping hand to both players, who can be role models for other athletes, including paralympic contestants.
He applauded Chong's willingness to learn sign language in order to help them pick up badminton instructions efficiently.
He also said that MSDEAF is in the process of appointing two additional players in 2022 to replace Syafiq and Wei Ying when they retire from their careers.
He encouraged more players to venture into sports and not be discouraged because disabilities should not be a barrier to succeed in life.