Malaysian shuttler S. Kisona is putting the 2021 Sudirman Cup behind her as she gears up for the upcoming Uber Cup.
The reigning SEA Games gold medalist failed to win any of her four matches against England, Indonesia and Japan (twice), and was subjected to a vile racist abuse over the weekend.
Malaysians were quick to unite and show their unwavering support for Kisona, in the process condemning her abuser, who was also publicly castigated by Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister and Lee Chong Wei among others.
BAM CONDEMNS RACISM IN SPORT— BAM (@BA_Malaysia) October 3, 2021
BAM is utterly appalled by the racist remarks made towards our national women’s singles player, S Kisona. pic.twitter.com/jWJ8BLCCLg
On court, Kisona was clearly far from her best, even though she cannot be faulted for not trying hard enough especially when facing Akane Yamaguchi, one of the most consistent women singles shuttlers on the BWF World Tour circuit.
“It was really difficult for me to even take a point from her, she played extremely well. To be honest, I was mentally down on court. I need a lot of patience and dedication to match the kind of level she was playing.
“What I learnt from the Sudirman Cup is to be mentally strong, even when you are tired. When you play against a top level player, you may not get as many points, and you may be criticised for it. What I learnt is, ignore the noise,” she said after the semis loss to Yamaguchi.
But on court, the world number 53 is aware she needs to improve at the upcoming Uber Cup.
She is most likely to lead the line as the first women’s singles against China, Denmark and Canada in Group D and come up against reigning Olympic champion Chen Yufei and rising Danish starlet Mia Blichfeldt.
She would once again enter the fray as the underdog, but Kisona proved in the past she can match higher ranked players, and even upset them.
Aya Ohori, who was a top 20 shuttler when facing Kisona at the 2020 Asia Team Championships, lost to her in straight games.
The Seremban-born also fared well prior to the Sudirman Cup, winning the Spanish International in June.