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Rising Malaysia badminton stars good in 4 languages

By Fabian Peter New Straits Times, Thu, May 7, 2020

Kisona and M. Thinaah (left) can speak Mandarin, Tamil, Bahasa Malaysia and English 

Women’s singles Kisona and doubles player Thinaah, both 22, can speak Tamil, Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin fluently.

With age and talent on their side, the two players hope the gift of the gab would take them far in their careers.

Just like Denmark’s former world champion, Viktor Axelsen, who is a hit in China for being able to speak Mandarin, Kisona and Thinaah are also looking to land lucrative money gigs in the sport later.

“It’s a major advantage for us, because I realised I can communicate with so many different people.

“Being able to speak Mandarin means I could communicate better with my coaches and teammates,” said Thinaah, who picked up Mandarin after interacting with her friends during her time at the Bukit Jalil Sports School.

“It wasn’t difficult at all because you keep hearing the same phrases over and over again. That’s how I picked up Mandarin in just two years.

“Bahasa Malaysia is our national language, Tamil is my mother tongue while English is an international language. Because I can speak four different languages, I have been invited to give talks in schools,” added the Selangor-born Thinaah, who has been approached by local Tamil schools.

Like Thinaah, Kisona, who clinched the 2019 Sea Games gold medal, is a member of the Negri Sembilan Chinese Recreational Club (NSCRC) because of her ability to speak Mandarin.

“Because I can speak Mandarin fluently, I was invited by the NSCRC to be a member after winning the Sea Games gold last year.

“Like Axelsen, I hope to be a global ambassador some day too. But I need to reach his level first.

“I hope to land some big sponsorship deals in the future,” added Kisona, who has been brushing up on her Tamil with the help of her mother during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Kisona, and Thinaah, who partners Pearly Tan, are seen as the nation’s medal prospects for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The two are hoping to make an impression once international tournaments resume after the Covid-19 turmoil.

“Playing in the Paris Olympics is my dream but I don’t want to just qualify, I want to try and win a medal,” said Thinaah.


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