For a budding young shuttler to be told he could become the next Lee Chong Wei with hard work, passion and determination means everything.
That was the message given to Justin Hoh by Misbun Sidek, the national junior development director who oversaw Lee's meteoric rise to the top of the game.
The revered coach's advice to Hoh ignited a raw desire and ambition in the lanky shuttler.
“Coach Misbun told me if I worked hard under him, I have the potential to become like Chong Wei. I believe him, and as I feel my game is similar to Chong Wei. We both are attacking players.
“Coach’s training is tough, but it is shaping me to become better everyday. I am prepared to work hard if it means becoming like my idol,” Hoh told Stadium Astro.
Based on current projection, the 16-year-old would be on his way to fulfilling his potential.
At the recent National Junior Ranking Challenge, Hoh pushed his much older teammates to finish third behind champion Lee Shun Yang and Wyman Goh.
In October, he finished top of his group with a string of impressive showings.
Hoh's performances were not a flash in the pan, as he won both the Under-15 and U17 men’s singles title at the Badminton Asia tournament.
If taken into account the bronze medal he won at the German Junior Open earlier this year, the KL-born can be considered a genuine emerging force to be reckoned with.
Hoh is also adept in both the men’s singles and doubles, sitting at 13th and 14th respectively on the world junior ranking.
He has another two years before he needs to make a decision which event to choose, but as of now, he is heavily leaning towards the singles event.
“I have big hopes of doing well at the Asian and World Junior Championships next year. With coach Misbun’s guidance, I know I can do well.
“He knows how to train us to play with the seniors, and a lot of improvement I've made is due to his guidance.”
Misbun placed heavy emphasis on fitness and had the juniors on cardio workouts daily for the last four months.
But Hoh balanced that with training in the gym, as well as honing his technique.
He said his level was not far off from Jacky Kok, the 18-year-old currently third on the world junior rankings.
“Even though Jacky is older, I always picture him as my age. I don’t think our level is far apart, including Ong Ken Yon (20 in the junior rankings),” he added.