Mixed doubles specialist Chan Peng Soon (behind) is glad he has been included in the Thomas Cup team for the first time. - ROHAIZAT MD DARUS/ The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Mixed doubles specialist Chan Peng Soon accomplished a record of sorts with his surprise inclusion in the Thomas Cup Finals squad for the first time.
The 26-year-old Peng Soon, who forms the number one mixed doubles partnership with Goh Liu Ying, will be making his Finals debut in New Delhi from May 18-25.
The others in the men’s doubles team are world No. 7 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, reigning Malaysian Open champions Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Tan Boon Heong.
“When I was playing in the men’s doubles (2008-2009), I did not make the cut for the Finals.
“Now, as a mixed doubles player, I get this surprise call-up.
“I’m just so happy,” said Peng Soon.
“By playing in the Thomas Cup Finals, I would have played in all the major badminton tournaments.
“I have featured in the Olympic Games, World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. It is complete now.
“I’m very honoured by this (his selection). This shows that the selectors have kept the door open even for a mixed doubles player like me in a men’s team event.
“I guess, my experience really made the difference.”
Peng Soon was chosen ahead of two-time world junior champion Ow Yao Han and old-timer Koo Kien Keat, who had resigned from the national team in March this year.
Before embarking on the mixed doubles, Peng Soon had played in the men’s doubles with Khim Wah and the duo did exceptionally well to win the 2009 Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold title.
On Monday, Peng Soon was seen partnering Khim Wah during the first day of centralised camp-cum-training at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.
Boon Heong also played together with his former partner Thien How, who was his world junior champion partner in 2004. One another court, V Shem and Wee Kiong, both fast-attacking and aggressive shuttlers, looked sharp.
“Today, the coaches were just testing us.
“I played with all of them. It does take some adjustment to get back the feel of playing in the men’s doubles but I will get there,” said Peng Soon.
Asked if Khim Wah is his ideal partner, Peng Soon said: “I’ll leave that to the coaches. For now, my focus is to complement well with all the players.
“They are all established doubles players and I must match them.
“I will be ready to play with anyone – as long as it fits with the coaches plan.”
Malaysia are in Group C with South Korea, Germany and India.
In order to be group champions, it is vital that the men’s doubles deliver at least one point to support their men’s singles counterparts.
The men’s singles players are Lee Chong Wei, Chong Wei Feng, Liew Daren and Goh Soon Huat.