Still the ones to beat: Goh V Shem (behind)-Tan Wee Kiong will take on Thai pair Kittinupong Kedren-Dechapol Puavaranukroh in the first round of the Indian Open on March 28.
PETALING JAYA: National doubles shuttler Tan Wee Kiong is not easily discouraged.
Although he and his partner – Goh V Shem – failed to achieve their target of reaching the men’s doubles final in the All-England last week, it hasn’t stopped them from setting a similar target for the Indian Open, which begins in New Delhi from March 28-April 2.
V Shem-Wee Kiong lost to All-England champions Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia in the Indian Open semi-finals last year.
“V Shem and I did not met our target at the All-England, but we didn’t fare too badly either. We’ll get it right in India,” said Wee Kiong.
The world No. 2 pair, who were the top seeds in Birmingham, lost 19-21, 21-17, 19-21 to China’s Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen in a one hour and six minutes in the quarter-finals.
The Indian Open has given the Rio Olympic silver medallists a chance to avenge that defeat.
Based on the draw released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) yesterday, top seeds Wee Kiong-V Shem are in the same quarter as world No. 6 Junhui-Yuchen.
The Malaysians will face Thailand’s Kittinupong Kedren-Dechapol Puavaranukroh in the first round, followed by either Japan’s new pair of Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe or independent shuttlers Hendra Setiawan-Tan Boon Heong next.
“Our matches against Junhui-Yuchen have always been close. We gave them a good fight in the All-England, but we weren’t consistent towards the end. We’ll be ready for them if we meet them in India,” promised Wee Kiong.
Former Olympic champion Hendra of Indonesia and former All-England champion Boon Heong of Malaysia are expected to come through the qualifiers to face Hiroyuki-Yuta in the first round.
Defending champions and fourth seeds Marcus-Kevin are in the lower half of the draw with second seeds Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan, eighth seeds Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov of Russia and seventh seeds Mads Conrad-Petersen-Mads Pieler Kolding of Denmark.
In men’s singles, the absence of China’s Lin Dan and Chen Long has given top seed Lee Chong Wei a good chance to win his second international title – having pocketed the All-England crown for the fourth time last week.
The 34-year-old Chong Wei is drawn in the same half as fourth seed Son Wan-ho of South Korea, seventh seed Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan and eighth seed Marc Zwiebler of Germany.
Second seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark is in the lower half with China’s Tian Houwei, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen and Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long.