Yeo Jia Min rose to the top of Women's singles junior badminton rankings on Friday to become the first ever Singapore shuttler to reach the summit in either junior or senior level. The 18-year-old believes that the numero uno tag will push her towards achieving better results in the future.
Yeo dethroned Malaysia's Goh Jin Wei from the top spot, thanks to her fine form at the junior circuit this season - she won the Dutch Junior title and followed it up with a runner-up finish at German Junior in March.
The Singapore shuttler also claimed her first ever Grand Prix title at Yonex Sunrise Vietnam Open last year, beating Japan's Ayumi Mine 21-14, 21-17 in a 40-minute title match. Touted as one of the best upcoming talents in the junior circuit, Yeo was also part of Singapore's Sudirman Cup campaign, in which she posted wins against Austria's Katharina Hochmeir and Australia's Hsuan-Yu Chen.
"I feel encouraged... I take it step by step and it is something to continue to push me [to do better]. I do not aim for rankings, but it is part of the process," Yeo said, as quoted by Today.
"I aim to do my best for every competition and whatever I have been working on, I want to see the progress on court. I do not really look at my rankings, but my parents do and after training this afternoon, my mother texted me and congratulated for being world number one."
Ahead of SEA Games this year, Yeo will take part in Australia Superseries and the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold in June. The teenage shuttler's raise to the top of the summit has brought her praise from former national shuttlers.
Former Thailand Open champion Ronald Susilo believes that Yeo must now concentrate on making the transition from junior to senior level, which according to him is a tough task as Singapore does not have top-quality sparring partners.
"Making the transition from junior to senior level is a big difference as the seniors are more mature, faster and stronger. In Singapore, there are currently not many sparring partners [to work with her], so it is not going to be easy for her," Susilo said, as quoted by the report.
"While it is good that we have a world No 1 junior, at the end of the day, it is how you go to the senior level and perform."