KUALA LUMPUR: While many would probably have given up on seeing Goh Jin Wei regain her might, it remains a fact that the world No 30 is still Malaysia's best women's singles shuttler.
That said, the 23-year-old is also arguably Malaysia's best bet in getting represented in the women's singles event at the Paris Olympics next year.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Jin Wei should make the top 38 cut for the Paris Games with relative ease.
All the two-time former world junior champion needs to do is to place herself in the top 60 of the Race to Paris standings (different than world rankings), which is the projected cut at the end of the one-year qualifying period on April 30 next year.
Coach Nova Armada is appealing for Jin Wei to be considered for the Road To Gold (RTG) programme as the latter desperately needs comprehensive assistance to beef up her fitness and body conditioning.
Nova believes that with a strong support service, he's confident Jin Wei would be able to reverse not only her dwindling fortunes but be also back to her best.
Jin Wei's dismal run continues after being knocked out in the first round of the Taiwan Open by world No 68 Huang Ching Ping of Taiwan.
She has now exited the first round in all her last six tournament, and has not won a match since scoring an upset against former world champion P.V. Sindhu during the Sudirman Cup last month.
"If only Jin Wei gets the support from National Sports Institute, I'm sure her condition could have been better. She's been working hard in the training but it's also equally important that she receives all the right assistance too," said Nova, who's also coaching Paralympic gold medalist Cheah Liek Hou.
"Jin Wei has a really good chance to qualify for the Olympics, and in all likelihood, she's going to make the cut.
"We can see that Jin Wei is gradually getting back to her best. She managed to beat Sindhu and even stretched Mia Blichfeldt (world No 16 of Denmark) to the limit during the Sudirman Cup.
"She just needs more time. By the end of this year, she will come good. But of course, it would be even better if Jin Wei gets to be part of the RTG programme, where support service and sports science expertise are crucial at the moment.
"Right now, she's unable to get all that due to limited funds. We're not asking for the moon, all we're hoping for is for Jin Wei to get the support service from NSI.
"After all, she's also fighting for Malaysia, isn't it?"
It's public knowledge that Jin Wei had a stomach ailment, which needed her to undergo colectomy surgery in 2019.
Since turning professional, Jin Wei has fought her way up from a lowly No 128 a year ago to now being the world's top 30 player again — just five rungs shy of her career-best ranking back in 2019 before the illness cruelly curtailed her remarkable rise.
Jin Wei enjoyed an illustrious junior career which saw her win almost every major title.
Apart from her two world junior crowns, she also became Malaysia's first gold medallist at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2018.
Jin Wei cried for help during the Malaysia Masters last month, but it's not known if the RTG committee has even considered roping her in.
RTG has already tweaked the inclusion criteria for badminton based on Race to Paris rankings rather than the regular world rankings, which led to Ng Tze Yong and Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei being brought in as the latest members.
Perhaps, RTG could grant Jin Wei an exception too?