I was ‘stubborn’ in chasing my dreams

Soniia Cheah

KUALA LUMPUR: Sometimes it pays to persevere or, in national women’s singles shuttler Soniia Cheah’s case, to be “stubborn”.

It’s thanks to her dogged pursuit, or stubbornness as she calls it, that she will be making her Olympic debut in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday (July 26) — eight years after suffering a ruptured right Achilles tendon injury.

When she finally walks onto the court to take on Laura Sarosi of Hungary in Group N at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Tokyo, on Tuesday (July 27), it will be the culmination of an almost decade-long hard work, sacrifice and perseverance for the 28-year-old Soniia.

And vindication of her decision to pursue her dream of playing badminton, a game which she first picked up at the tender age of 10.

“It was a stubborn decision I made eight years ago, which is (that) I am willing to give it all I have in me to make it here despite there being a lot of uncertainties as to whether it’s the right or wrong decision.

“I am very lucky and grateful as I have very supportive families and friends who (have) supported this stubborn woman to allow her to chase her dream (although some feel that it’s not worth it), but to me, it’s worth as much as my life,” the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist wrote on her Facebook page.

Standing at 175cm, Soniia has undergone four surgeries related to the Achilles tendon injury since 2013, besides also having to contend with a left ankle injury during the 2019 SEA Games.

Soniia, the younger sister of former national shuttler Lydia Cheah, also paid tribute to her father Cheah Kim Leng and mother Helen Low for allowing the sisters to take up badminton as a career.

“Daddy, Mummy, I wish that you both won’t regret the decision of letting @lyddiacheah and me to excel in badminton, because the pain and hardship we went through are very precious and unique life experiences.

“Thank you, Daddy, Mummy. If I can reverse time to choose my sports career again, I will still go for badminton,” she added. After the match against the Hungarian, Soniia will have to brace herself for an uphill task as she will be up against fifth seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand on Wednesday (July 28). – Bernama