Lai Pei Jing (left) and Chan Peng Soon speak to reporters after winning the National GP mixed doubles final in Putrajaya last month. They will be put to the test at the Austrian International Challenge, German Open and the All England.
PETALING JAYA: National mixed doubles coach Jeremy Gan has decided to pair up Chan Peng Soon and Lai Pei Jing as he believes the pair have what it takes to make an impact.
Peng Soon is currently ranked sixth in the world with Goh Liu Ying but that partnership has been put on hold following the latter’s decision to undergo knee surgery. She is expected to be out of action for at least six months.
The 21-year-old Pei Jing meanwhile has been paired with Tan Aik Quan for the past three years and the duo were ranked as high as No. 15 in the world last May.
Aik Quan-Pei Jing’s career however stalled following several poor performances including a first round exit at the recent Malaysian Open and a second round defeat at the India Open GP Gold this month. That saw them plunge eight spots from No. 26 to No. 34 in the world.
This will not be the first time Peng Soon and Pei Jing have been paired as the duo were partners in some local tournaments last year and are currently the national mixed doubles champions.
Jeremy believes that splitting Pei Jing from Aik Quan and pairing her with Peng Soon would be the best thing to do. Their baptism of fire begins next month with the Austrian International Challenge (Feb 19-22), followed by the German Open (Feb 25-March 2) and the All England from March 4-9.
“It’s sad that we have to lose Liu Ying but Pei Jing is a very good player too,” said Jeremy.
“She has played with Aik Quan over the past few years but I think this is a good chance for her to step up.
“Pairing her with Peng Soon means there will be more opportunities to learn and improve at the highest level. As for Aik Quan, I will have to find another partner for him.
“Right now though, I am not sure if the Peng Soon-Pei Jing partnership will work out for the long term. The first few tournaments, including the All England, will be the gauge for that,” added Jeremy.
Besides Peng Soon-Pei Jing, there is also world No. 29 Ong Jian Guo-Lim Yin Loo in the mixed doubles squad. The others in the stable are Mohd Lufti Zaim, Tan Chee Tean and Wong Fai Ying (men); Shevon Lai Jemie, Chow Mei Kuan, Amelia Aliscia Anscelly and Soong Fie Cho (women).