Malaysian scratch doubles pair of Goh V Shem (left)-Tan Wee Kiong celebrate after beating their Danish opponents Carsten Mogensen-Joachim Fischer Nielsen in the Thomas Cup quarter-finals in New Delhi last week.
PETALING JAYA: The strong performances of Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong at the Thomas Cup Finals last week is giving national doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang a pleasant selection headache.
V Shem and Wee Kiong were paired up for the first time during the Thomas Cup Finals in New Delhi and they delivered key performances despite Malaysia eventually losing 3-2 to Japan in the final.
V Shem-Wee Kiong played four matches - against India’s Akshay Dewalkar-Pranaav Jerry Chopra, world No. 4 Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang of South Korea, Denmark’s Carsten Mogensen-Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Japan’s Keigo Sonoda-Takeshi Kamura.
Even though they were shaky initially, V Shem-Wee Kiong emerged as standout performers in the team as they won all their matches, including the gritty fightback against the Japanese pair which briefly gave the team some hope.
Although Cheh Chang is proud of his charges and their good showing, he has no immediate plans to split the existing partnerships of Hoon Thien How-Wee Kiong, who are No. 7 in the world, and V Shem-Lim Khim Wah who are No. 20 in the world. Both pairs have qualified for the World Championships in Copenhagen from Aug 25-31.
“To be honest, I have been preparing the doubles players to play with anyone in the team since February,” said Cheh Chang.
“I want them to learn different things, adapt to the various situations and be ready to step in to pair up with anyone if needed.
“The splitting of partnerships has been done with a lot of consideration ... it was not a rash decision. The main reason is because our players have become too conservative in their own comfort zones. I want them to come out from it.
“The Thomas Cup was the perfect stage to put that to the test and I have to say the players came through with flying colours. I’m very pleased with them.
“But, I will not be making any of these pairs permanent, at least not until after the World Championships.
“We want to send the two pairs who qualified for the world meet, or else all the work that went into qualifying will have been in vain,” added Cheh Chang.
Nevertheless, Cheh Chang is set to tweak the pairings for the three Superseries events next month - the Japan Open (June 10-15), Indonesia Open (June 17-22), and Australian Open (June 24-29).
For the Japan meet, Wee Kiong will resume his partnership with Thien How, but V Shem will pair up with Tan Boon Heong and Khim Wah with youngster Ow Yao Han.
The superb V Shem-Wee Kiong combination will only be seen again at the Australian meet.