Something’s brewing as former No. 1 Soniia mixes it upStephanie Chan
PETALING JAYA: From an Olympian to a cool barista, former national No. 1 badminton singles player Soniia Cheah is making the most out of her life.
The 30-year-old Soniia, who decided to retire from competitive badminton due to a persistent Achilles tendon injury after competing at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, has been juggling with many things but her latest venture is into coffee-making.
She may eventually return as a full-time coach, but not now.
“I’m dabbling with many things after leaving the national team. I’m really grateful to be an ambassador for Maxx Sport. I’m also studying for my final year in sports science Bachelor’s degree in UM (Universiti Malaya),” said Soniia.
She also does part-time badminton coaching (group and private classes) and is the co-founder of Too Yumm cafe.
“Now, I’ve found my interest in being a good barista. I personally love matcha and coffee, I think, a good cup of coffee that you can make, really depends on how much love and passion you put in it, it just mirrors my life really and how I want to approach it.”Although she is busy brewing, Soniia said she had not forgotten badminton.
“It’s in my blood and I can’t live my life without it. I do miss playing on the big stage as I always enjoyed being on court,” she said.
Since Soniia left, the national team seemed to be grappling with reliable successors. There have been a few talents, including Goh Jin Wei, but injuries and inconsistency have seen many languishing in a mediocre state of play.
“I think women’s singles is very competitive and, it’s not easy to stand out. When I was playing, I had a high self-expectation in every training session and I guess, that’s important. There must be self-confidence and discipline too,” said Soniia, who hoped the newer generation would not give up easily.
“There is no shortcut to success, extraordinary success will require extraordinary effort,” she said.
Will Soniia return to court again but as a coach?
“I will if there is a right opportunity at the right time. That’s why my sister and I are doing our coaching while working and studying too,” added Soniia, who is a part-time coach at her own centre, Sunheart Badminton Academy.