PETALING JAYA: First time, always the sweetest.
At least, it will be for shuttler S. Kisona as she gets ready for her first All-England appearance in Birmingham from March 17-21.
The world No. 62 has made the cut for the oldest tournament following the absence of top players from badminton powerhouses like China, South Korea and Indonesia.
2019 SEA Games champion Kisona will be joining national No. 1 and world No. 32 Soniia Cheah in England.
The 22-year-old, who is currently ranked second in the country behind Soniia and ahead of Lee Ying Ying (127), Goh Jin Wei (145) and Eoon Qi Xuan (166), hopes to cherish the moment.
“In fact, this will be my first-ever trip to England, ” said Kisona.
“It would have been impossible to play in the All-England with my current ranking but due to some withdrawals, I’ve made the cut and I’m grateful.
“I’ve always dreamt of playing in the All-England and other major tournaments whilw growing up and now, I get to experience this chance to play in one of the biggest events in my career.”
Kisona did not make the cut for the preceding Swiss Open from March 2-7 due to her low ranking.
In the All-England, she has been drawn to face eighth seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand in the opening round. In her same half are second seed Nozomi Okuhara (Japan), fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) and seventh seed Mia Blichfeldt (Denmark).
In the top half are top seed Carolina Marin (Spain), third seed Akane Yamaguchi (Japan), fifth seed P. V. Sindhu (India) and sixth seed Pornpawee Chochuwong (Thailand).
“I’ve to admit that Busanan is a strong player. I’ve lost to her more times. Strength to strength, she is better.
“I’m not putting myself down here. She is good but that does not mean that I’ll give up easily.
“I will be out to play my best game out there, ” added Kisona, who will also take part in the Orleans Open in France in April.
With the talent and determination that Kisona has, she could have made it to many major tournaments before but a series of injuries had hampered her progress between 2014 and 2018.
Her knee injury in 2018 was bad and she only returned to action in April 2019.
She went on to win the Hellas Open in Greece and Sydney International to earn the right to replace injured 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games winner Jin Wei in the individual event at the Philippines SEA Games and went on to defend the gold for Malaysia.