From Myanmar, Destination Tokyo

There was just that hint of inspiration from Tai Tzu Ying‘s stylebook in Thet Htar Thuzar’s shots – and the Myanmar international acknowledged as much.

Thet considers Tai Tzu Ying her inspiration.

Playing her first Super 500 event, the 21-year-old gave a good account of herself during her three-game loss to Yip Pui Yin in the first qualifying round of the PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2020.

“My father trained me when I was young, so he’s my hero,” said the soft-spoken Thuzar. “In women’s singles, my idols are Tai Tzu Ying and Ratchanok Intanon… I’m inspired by some of Tai’s strokes, like her deception.”

There haven’t been many players from Myanmar on the international circuit; Thuzar’s is a rare case. Her parents were both former players; her father became a coach and worked in Thailand for a few years before moving back to Myanmar, where he coaches his daughter. With a shot at qualifying for the Olympics, Thuzar has also been training on and off in Kuala Lumpur with former Malaysian international Ong Ewe Hock.

Thuzar has had creditable results over the last year. She won International Series in Uganda and Kenya, followed by three back-to-back titles in Mauritius, Benin and Ivory Coast. A fifth title came her way in Egypt in October. Among her prominent victims at the Maldives International – where she made the semifinals – were Linda Zetchiri and Brittney Tam.

Her consistent performances through the season saw her climb to No.61. She is well placed on the Road to Tokyo – for she is currently in 28th place.

“Last year I went to a lot of tournaments and I got a lot of experience,” she says. “I wanted to get my ranking higher. This year I will try to go to countries close to Myanmar. Finding funding was tough, I had to look for sponsors to pay for myself and my father as he coaches me.”

Her first experience of the World Tour was at the Syed Modi Championships last November (she lost in the first round). And while she lost the first qualifying round in Malaysia, she hopes the experience will help her on her way to qualifying for the Olympics.

“It’s a good experience, this is my first Super 500,” she said. “I have to train harder to get good results. I’m trying to qualify for the Olympics. I will go for a lot of tournaments until April.

“In Myanmar I only train with my father. When I don’t have a tournament I train with coach Ong in Kuala Lumpur. My goal is to play the Olympics. Nobody from Myanmar has played badminton at the Olympics and I want to be the first.”

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