APG2018: Ever-present Wei Ming salutes fellow shuttlers and eyes Tokyo 2020
11 October 2018
It was not a campaign that lived up to his expectations but shuttler Tay Wei Ming still took plenty of positives away from his third Asian Para Games campaign.
As Team Singapore’s lone badminton player in Jakarta, the 30-year-old shouldered his responsibilities ably and gave his best in the men’s singles SU5 event, where played in Group E and came away with a three-set win over South Korea’s Kim Gi-Yeon.
Tay Wei Ming fought well in his three Group E matches in Jakarta. Photo: Sport Singapore
But that victory came after two prior losses – he dropped his opening match in straight sets to China’s Shi Shengzhou on Sunday (7 Oct), then suffered an agonising three-set defeat to Thailand’s Whatcharaphon Chok Uthaikul, losing the deciding set 20-22.
Had the match against the Thai player gone his way, Wei Ming would’ve fancied his chances of scoring a medal.
“I’ve been to all three editions of the Asian Para Games and this one is definitely better than the previous two,” he said. “I feel like I’ve gained more experience and knowledge from the past two editions.
“My main takeaway from this Games is to be more mentally tough, especially on the big points. The way to improve that is to undergo tough training and also get tips from our sports psychologist.”
It didn’t help that Wei Ming’s preparations for this campaign was disrupted by injury.
“I hurt myself falling off a bike a few months back,” he said. “That put a dent in my preparations. So now it’s a matter of getting back the momentum and strengthen the mental aspects of my game.”
A look at Wei Ming’s past achievements reveals a long list of tournament wins which goes as far back as the 2011 ASEAN Para Games in Indonesia where he won gold, and a long list of tournament results in Europe, including the singles SU5 title at the Spanish Para-Badminton International as recently as March this week.
Tay Wei Ming has made the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics his goal. Photo: Sport Singapore
But Asia is where is wants to prove himself, although it’s where winning is the hardest.
“I feel truly honoured to be given the opportunity to be here for such a major Games,” he said. “And badminton at the Asian Games is truly a prestigious tournament as the powerhouses are mostly in our continent, and this is the hardest tournament.
“My ultimate dream has always been to qualify for the Paralympics, hopefully Tokyo 2020.”
Having picked up the racquet at the age of nine, Wei Ming has enjoyed the physicality of the sport which has been beneficial for his disability.
“Badminton is quite challenging as it’s a balanced sport in which you need to activate all parts of your body,” says Wei Ming, who was diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy which affects his smaller right arm.
Asked if he has any badminton idol that he looks up to, Wei Ming was quick to reply: “My fellow para badminton athletes because they are people I can look up to as they have the same disability as me.
“Every time they train, they train very hard and push themselves to the limit. This is why I admire my fellow para athletes.”
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