KUALA LUMPUR: Former women’s doubles star Woon Khe Wei (pic) has ended her badminton career without an Olympic Games medal – but her dream lives on – as a coach.
The 29-year-old Khe Wei shows she is not one who throws in the towel easily as she has set her mind to train future Olympic champions at her new badminton academy.
She is in the midst of opening up not one – but two centres which have not been given a name yet in Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya respectively this month.
Khe Wei is undergoing the Badminton World Federation coaching courses at the Academy Badminton of Malaysia here to equip herself.
“Growing up my dream was to win an Olympic medal, but I lost in the quarter-finals (at the 2016 Rio Olympics) and I was really down.
“And then I could not play anymore because of my knee injury, so now I hope to train players who can one day fulfil my dream and be an Olympic champion.”
Due to her recurring knee injuries – instead of going through another surgery, Khe Wei decided to hang her racquet up in December last year.
Since then, the Commonwealth Games and SEA Games gold medallist had wasted no time in getting into her new career as a coach when she was hired by Tebrau City Badminton Club to be their head coach in the SS Purple League.
She coached the club from Stage 1, which started last month at the Gem In Mall in Cyberjaya, to a fifth-place finish in the Finals at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands last week.
“I have to thank Tebrau City for inviting me to be their coach, and it has been a very good experience for me to learn at an international platform,” said Khe Wei.
“It really wasn’t easy as I had to coach even the men’s doubles and singles. I’m a women’s doubles player, and I lacked the experience in other events.
“But after Stage 1, I slowly adapted, and it has been a good way to kick-start my new career in coaching.”
When asked about her former partner, Vivian Hoo, and her current partnership with the 23-year-old Yap Cheng Wen, she was quick to sing praises.
She said the world No. 23 pair have the potential to be a good combination.
“Cheng Wen is a good player, and like me, she is also left-handed, but she needs experience playing in events like the Asian Games or SEA Games. I hope that they will both go far in the future,” added Khe Wei.