Brunei's Jaspar Yu Woon Chai in action during an earlier competition. Yu will represent Brunei at next month's Osaka International Challenge 2014 in Japan. BT file
National shuttler Jaspar Yu Woon Chai will be representing the country at next month's Osaka International Challenge 2014 in Japan.
Yu is currently in Korea studying as an exchange student, but despite being in a country where the level of badminton is considerably higher than in Brunei, the shuttler admitted he is finding it hard to secure quality sparring partners.
"I just got the news today that I've qualified for the tournament but the draw has not been released yet," said Yu in a phone interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"I'm not training at the moment as it is quite difficult to find a good badminton club (since) it is too far from my place," said Yu, who is an exchange student at Seoul's Sookmyung Women's University.
"(And) since it is a women's only university, it is also not easy to have good sparring partners.
"However, I do go to the gym regularly to work on my fitness, and when the multipurpose hall is vacant, I go there alone to practice on my footwork and other basic stuff to keep me in shape," he added.
The Osaka International Challenge will be held at the Moriguchi City Gymnasium in Osaka from April 2-6 and is set to offer a total cash prize of US$15,000.
"I have no specific target for the tournament yet but I'm going to play to the best of my abilities," said Yu.
"I know I may sound underprepared but I'm doing the best I can given the situation I am in now, so I hope the draw will be a little kind to me when it's released,"
"I've decided to take part in the tournament because badminton is a big part of my life. I have a duty as an undergraduate but I also represent Brunei in badminton, so I'm always looking at ways to maintain and stay competitive.
"Moreover, Osaka is quite close to Seoul," added the 24-year-old who reached a career high of 419 in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranking in September but has now dropped to 450.
Though Yu is far from home, he said he is still monitoring the national scene - going on to congratulate the winners of the National Badminton Championship Brunei Darussalam which concluded last week.
"I've missed the event but I've been following the results quite closely," he said.
"I hope my badminton family is doing well back in Brunei and I also want to congratulate the winners," he added.
Rahman Hj Md Tahir won the mens' singles event while the womens' singles title went to Siti Marinah Mohd Salleh during the tournament that was held at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
Aiman Hafizul Akram Abdullah was crowned champion of the boy's singles event while Celeny Rohana Roma Tius Anak Tikom took the girl's singles title.
The mens' doubles final was won by the duo of Ermadena Hj Talip and Sia Kok while Yeo Siao Yien and Lai Ling Wei walked away with the womens' doubles crown.
Ryeno Anak Lambai and Anyar Anak Aladdin smashed their way to first place in the boy's doubles category as Yusof Hj Ghani and Robert Liaw Poh Chian claimed top honours in the mens' veteran doubles.