Litmus test: Vivian Hoo (back) and Woon Khe Wei could see their seven-year partnership come to an end at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games from Aug 19-30 if they fail to revive their game.
KUALA LUMPUR: Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei’s days as the national No. 1 women’s doubles pair are numbered.
The world No. 13 could see their seven-year partnership come to an end at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games from Aug 19-30 if they fail to revive their game.
Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president, issued the buck-up warning yesterday. He also withdrew Vivian-Khe Wei’s participation at this week’s Australian Open in Sydney following their meek performance at last week’s Indonesian Open.
Norza was disappointed with Vivian-Khe Wei for losing 9-21, 12-21 to qualifiers Poon Lok Yan-Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong in the first round in Jakarta.
“Instructions were given to them to return home from Jakarta after their flop at the Indonesian Open. We’ve dropped their names from the trip to Australia,” said Norza, who is also the BAM’s coaching and training committee chairman.
“It’s pointless to send them to Australia if they’re not good enough.”
Vivian-Khe Wei was also dropped from the national team last month for the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, from Aug 21-27.
Then, Norza was incensed with the duo’s disappointing show in Malaysia’s loss to Japan in the quarter-finals of the Sudirman Cup in Gold Coast, Australia, in May.
“I want Khe Wei-Vivian to know that I’m serious. I’ll no longer tolerate lackadaisical performances,” said Norza.
Norza said that the SEA Games would be Vivian-Khe Wei’s final platform to prove themselves.
“They must shape up. I’m not putting undue pressure on them. I want them to pull up their socks,” he said.
“We expect them to deliver at the SEA Games. We’ll have to break up their partnership if they fail to give a good showing. This is a warning and a challenge to them.”
Vivian-Khe Wei’s only Open title was winning the Indonesian Open Grand Prix Gold in 2011.
They, however, have a good track record in multi-sport Games.
Vivian-Khe Wei were the gold medallists at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar. Then in 2014, they bagged the gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and a historic bronze at the Incheon Asian Games.
Vivian-Khe Wei also created history at the Rio Olympics last year when they became the first Malaysian pair to reach the women’s doubles quarter-finals.