Tough ask: Tan Kian Meng (left) and Lai Pei Jing may be called upon to deliver the winning point for Malaysia at the Sudirman Cup mixed team event in Gold Coast, Australia, which starts on Sunday. — Bernama
PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing are ready to make a lasting impression when they make their debut in the Sudirman Cup in Gold Coast, Australia, on Sunday.
In the absence of national No. 1 Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Malaysia are likely to turn to Kian Meng-Pei Jing in the deciding matches of the world mixed team badminton championship.
Besides Kian Meng-Pei Jing, the others in the team are Lee Chong Wei, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles); Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem, Teo Ee Yi (men’s doubles); Goh Jin Wei, Soniia Cheah (women’s singles); Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei, Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (women’s doubles). Peng Soon and Cheah Yee See are the other mixed doubles players in the squad.
Liu Ying has been dropped because of a shoulder injury.
The team tie is decided over five matches – men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
And world No. 10 Kian Meng-Pei Jing are ready to prove that they can live up to expectations.
“I’ve been with the national team for some time but I’ve never competed in the Sudirman Cup, so Kian Meng and I are kind of excited about it,” said Pei Jing.
“Without Liu Ying, all eyes will be on us ... but we are ready.
“I’ve played in the mixed team event once – in the 2014 Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow, Scotland).
“I partnered Peng Soon then and it was a deciding match against Singapore (in the semi-finals) ... we won.
“It all depends on how well we handle the pressure.”
Kian Meng acknowledged that “China have the best mixed doubles pair”, but it’s a level-playing field among the others.
China will be banking on Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen while South Korea’s challenge will rest on Choi Sol-gyu-Chae Yoo-jung.
The other top mixed doubles pairs are Joachim Fischer-Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen of Denmark and Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto.
“Pei Jing and I have an equal chance against all the other pairs. China, of course, are the favourites as they have a few good pairs,” said Kian Meng.
As Malaysia are in Group C with Germany and Japan, Kian Meng-Pei Jing’s first two tests will be against Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich and Kenta Kazuno-Ayane Kurihara.
Malaysia’s best result is a semi-final finish in the 2009 edition in Guangzhou, China.
In 2015 in Dongguan, China, Malaysia crashed out in the quarter-finals.