Hein Htut inspired by Chong Wei
*Hein Htut Second from left*
Small in size and height is no disadvantage to Myanmar's 12-year-old Hein Htut who has set himself lofty targets in his badminton career and he firmly believes he has a career in the shuttle sport.
Playing in the on-going Badminton Asia Under-17 and Under-15 Junior Championships in Mandalay, Myanmar, suffered first-round defeats in the singles and the doubles at the Mandalar Thiri Stadium.
Htut lost to Indonesia's No 8 seed Jason Christ Alexander in his singles first-round match. In the doubles, Htut and Mote Htee Thar fell 15-21, 14-21 to Singapore's Nge Joo Jie-Ryan Tan Rui Yang.
He was also a first-round casualty in the same championships played at the Thuwunna National Indoor Stadium in Yangon.
However, that defeat in Yangon, - losing 21-19, 13-21, 2-21, to his bigger-sized Macau China's Pui Chi Chon also made Htut famous and is still remembered by many.
His overzealous parents fed him with a substantial breakfast. It took its toll on little Htut, who, after winning the first game at 21-19, vomited on the court in the second game which he lost 13-21 and had to seek medical treatment during the two-minute break for the decider.
He was a spent force in the rubber as Chi Chon entirely used his size and height for a 21-2 win with Htut hardly able to move on the court.
"The story on my defeat in that match made me famous. And I want to be famous as a badminton player," said Htut at the Mandalar Thiri Stadium after the defeat in the Under-15 doubles on Thursday.
Willing to make sacrifices and walk the extra mile in pursuit of his badminton career Htut is looking at the 2024 Olympics in Paris - a target he believes he will be able to achieve.
This year alone Htut has gone to four badminton playing nations to compete in tournaments in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Japan.
"I have already started working towards achieving my dream. I go to bed at 10 pm and get up at 6 am. My morning training sessions are devoted to polishing my strokes while the evening sessions are for fitness," says Htut who speaks fluent English.
More importantly for Htut his businessman father Sai Paing Moat, who is also a vice-president of the Myanmar Badminton Federation, has taken a personal interest in his son's badminton future.
Little Htut's idol is none other than Malaysian ace Lee Chong Wei. With a tinge of sadness, Htut wishes Chong Wei a speedy recovery from his current illness.