Lai Pei Jing (front) training with her mixed doubles partner Chan Peng Soon at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow ahead of the Commonwealth Games beginning on Wednesday. - GLENN GUAN/ The Staer
GLASGOW: The Commonwealth Games seems like an ideal platform for mixed doubles shuttler Lai Pei Jing to step out of the shadows of Goh Liu Ying - for good.
And what better way to do it than to smash her way to the mixed doubles gold with Chan Peng Soon when the badminton competition starts at the Emirates Arena on Thursday.
Pei Jing was teamed up with Peng Soon as his regular partner Liu Ying is recovering from surgeries to both her knees.
And the 22-year-old Pei Jing is determined to seize the day in her Commonwealth Games debut.
“I used to compare myself with Liu Ying. I wanted everything to be perfect but that only made me struggle in my partnership with Peng Soon in the initial stages. I was really troubled,” she said.
“Now, I don’t compare myself with Liu Ying any more. I have better speed while she is a good strategist on court. I have my strengths and I’m determined to hold my own.”
On paper, though, Pei Jing-Peng Soon are considered the weakest link in the Malaysian team.
They are ranked lower than the three more formidable pairs at the Games – world No. 5 Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock of England; world No. 10 Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Vanessa Neo of Singapore; and Scotland’s world No. 13 Robert Blair-Imogen Bankier.
Pei Jing and Peng Soon, who have only played a couple of tournaments together this year, are ranked 48th in the world.
“I’m not overawed by these top pairs from England, Scotland and Singapore. Instead, I’m really excited. I wish to bring back a gold for our nation,” said Pei Jing.
The other Malaysian shuttlers in the mixed doubles are Tan Wee Kiong-Lim Yin Loo and Goh V Shem-Vivian Hoo.
At the New Delhi Games four years ago, Malaysia won the mixed doubles gold through Koo Kien Keat-Chin Eei Hui. Malaysia also struck gold in the men’s singles (Lee Chong Wei) and men’s doubles (Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong).