Singapore badminton doubles pair Jin Yujia and Crystal Wong share their experiences competing internationally for the first time since Covid-19 started
It was a strange feeling to play in front of what was usually a packed arena, but Crystal Wong and Jin Yujia are just happy to be back representing Singapore and competing in the sport they love.
You were part of a contingent of four athletes (together with Loh Kean Yew and Yeo Jiamin) who went up to compete in the Thailand Open in January 2021. It was your first taste of international competition since Covid-19 started, how did that feel like?
Crystal: I was very excited to be back for my first competition, and a bit nervous. It's been such a long time since I last competed.
Crystal Wong and Jin Yujia Interview Highlights.
The first competition we went to was a very major tournament where all the top athletes from around the world competed in, and we felt very privileged to actually make it onto the list.
We gave it our best shot, but it was still very evident that there were quite a few things for us to brush up on.
How different was the atmosphere this time around compared to before?
Crystal: The atmostphere felt very different, as there weren't any spectators this time around. It was just us, the opponents and the umpire.
So how do we bring up the atmosphere just by ourselves? (laughs)
Yujia: It took us a bit of getting used to, but in the end we were just happy to be part of the competition, and to get back to playing.
These tournaments aside, you've travelled far and wide around the world. What are the small daily wins that keep you going through this tough period?
Yujia: In trainings some sessions you feel more productive than others, there are days where everything just doesn't go your way, and yes at times it can be difficult to pick yourself up.
But I try not to overthink it, with all the what-ifs, but rather I focus on the moment. To see what are the areas I can improve. I think of the next shot instead of the next ten shots. Everybody has bad times, but I believe that every athlete can have the perseverance to pull through.
How has Covid-19 impacted your trainings overall and what are some of the ways you have had to deal with training with the many restrictions since last year?
Crystal: Last year was a challenging period for us, especially since Badminton is a very technical sport. Not being able to hit a shuttle on court for 3 months, coming back felt rather weird. It took us a while to get our 'feeling' back and to get into the groove.
But now that we are out of that we appreciate the time we have during trainings a whole lot more than before. We make the best of the time that we can now spend on trainings.