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Malaysia’s Future Badminton Star – Valeree Siow

Badminton is one of the most popular sports in Malaysia. It is impossible not to know about our top badminton players, such as Lee Chong Wei, Lee Zii Jia and Goh Liu Ying. Malaysians have consistently shown their support for our athletes in competitions such as the Sudirman Cup and the Olympics.

As badminton became more popular, more talented players were discovered and trained to represent the country for the future. Valeree Siow Zi Xuan, a talented 19-years-old Malaysian national badminton player who is currently playing in the women's and mixed doubles, is one of the rising badminton stars. She is currently ranked 130 in women's doubles and 206 in mixed doubles. Valeree's current accomplishments include becoming the Slovenia international Series women's doubles champion, Latvia Future Series mixed doubles and women's doubles champion, Hellas Future Series mixed doubles and women's doubles champion, and Ukraine international Series mixed doubles champion and women's doubles semi-finalist. In this article, I will be discussing her journey, challenges as well as her dream in the badminton field.

Photo provided by Valeree Siow

When did you start your journey in playing badminton and how did you get started in this field?

Valeree: I started playing badminton when I was six years old. My father and my elder sister, Desiree, were the ones who first introduced me to badminton. My sister is currently a former national junior player, and she was the one who inspired me to start playing badminton when I was younger. She has been my role model since I was a child because she is the only sibling I have. When my parents send her to training, I will sometimes follow them to the training court. Seeing her play badminton makes me wish I could be like her. That's when I became interested in the sport and eventually, that was the beginning of my badminton career. Later on, when I was 11 years old, I joined the state team and began competing in various competitions. I joined the national team when I was 13 years old.

How is your training going? What kind of training will you go through every day?

Valeree: We will go through training every day except for Sunday. Our training sessions were split into two halves, with a total training time of five to six hours. We will train from 7:30 a.m. to around 10:30 a.m., followed by another session in the afternoon from 2:30 p.m. to about 5:30 p.m. We will go through different kinds of training such as court training, gym training, physical training and so on. The main purpose of the training is to enhance our strength, power and endurance, as well as improving our technical and tactical skills. In other words, it is a thorough training designed to make us stronger.

Photo provided by Valeree Siow

What are some of the challenges you have encountered when playing badminton? How did you handle it?

Valeree: I have only encountered some minor challenges in the past, which are just some minor injuries. Fortunately, the injuries did not have any significant impact on me, so I normally confront them with a positive mindset. Even throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, my training was unaffected, and we continued to train at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) as usual.

How do you manage your time between badminton and education?

Valeree: Basically, my training session and my class time were fixed when I was still in secondary school. Hence, I can better plan my remaining time. I just need to pay more attention to both sides so that I can handle them properly without affecting either of them. It was definitely more suffering when SPM approached, as the time arrangements were fairly busy and it was quite exhausting. However, it was still manageable as long as I managed my time wisely and paid more attention to both sides. In fact, I considered quitting badminton after SPM as I wanted to continue my studies, but in the end, I chose to focus on my badminton career. I plan on continuing my studies soon, but for the time being, I would like to concentrate on badminton. My parents support my decision as well.

Photo provided by Valeree Siow

What is your dream that you want to achieve in the coming few years as a badminton player? What will you do to achieve it?

Valeree: I hope to be one of the top players in the coming few years. I will try my best to climb the rankings and win more major tournaments. Moreover, I wish to be able to compete in the Olympics in the future, as it would be an honourable accomplishment. When I think of competing in the Olympics, I always feel more motivated throughout training. However, there are still many things I need to work on to attain my goals. I still need to work on my strength and power, as these are important aspects of competing with others.

What advice do you have for people who want to pursue their dreams?

Valeree: Just remember to always think positive and keep a strong mentality at all times.

I hope you gained some insight from this interview and maybe even got inspired by Valerees story. Let us know what you thought and maybe you have your own story to tell to the youth.

by Fionna Lee


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