Hein Htut savours first international win
After two first-round exits in his previous tournaments in the Badminton Asia Under-17 & Under-15 Junior Championships, Myanmar's Hein Htut was thrilled to bits after clearing his first hurdle in this year's meet in Surabaya on Wednesday.
The unseeded 13-year-old from Yangon celebrated his win - a 15-21, 21-18, 22-20 over Thailand's 15th seed Ratchaphol Intanon in a second-round match. Both had byes in the first round.
"I am thrilled to win my first match...more so when I beat a Thai opponent who is much taller and bigger than me and comes from a world-famous badminton name, "said Hein Htut .
He was referring to Thailand's badminton queen Ratchanok Intanon, a former World Champions, and world No 1. Ratchapol is a younger brother of Ratchanok.
In the same breath, Hein Htut revealed is determined to help Myanmar win medals at least in regional games like the Sea Games. It is a long journey that is beginning to take shape in Myanmar.
Winning his first-round match against Ratchapol means he is "improving in his game" under the watchful eyes of his coaches and parents.
"I thank my coaches for developing my game...I have improved a lot but at the age of 13 years, it is just the beginning. My parents have a strict rule on my diet. They watch what I eat...only nutritiousness food," added Hein Htut with a smile.
Father Sai Peng Moong is a businessman while mother Nang Saing Hom, who is a housewife who quit her job as an engineer to look after the family.
Another Myanmar player who is set to make a name in the shuttle sport is Aung Myo Htoo who is not in Surabaya because of his year examinations.
Myo Htoo is also Hein Htut s sparring partner.
Coming back to his win in Surabaya, the ever-smiling Hein Htut said: "There is more power in my smashes. I am cooler under pressure but I need to improve on my mental strength as I still tend to make simple unforced errors."
Hein Htut hopes to reach the quarter-finals at least in Surabaya. His next match is against Chu Chen Jia of Chinese Taipei who beat Singapore's Safin Noor 21-11, 21-8.