Musical chairs begin for women doubles players

The doubles pairing of Vivien Hoo (left) and Woon Khe Wei will be split up despite winning multitple titles of late, including the Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow in July. - Filepic

INCHEON: Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei won the Commonwealth Games gold and also Malaysia’s first Asiad medal in 44 years in the women’s doubles with a bronze, but it still may not be enough to keep them together until the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Women’s doubles coach Rosman Razak is splitting up the world No. 19 pair.

Vivian will combine with Ng Hui Lin while Khe Wei will pair up with Lim Yin Loo for the Perak Open in Ipoh from Oct 7-12 and the Korean Open Grand Prix in Jeonju City from Nov 4-9.

It will come as a surprise to badminton fans, but the coach has his reasons for separating Vivian-Khe Wei, who also delivered the only badminton gold for Malaysia at last year’s Myanmar SEA Games.

“Our programme for this year ends with the Incheon Asian Games and the focus after this will be on the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

“We will use the remaining two months to try out new combinations ... who knows, some of the new pairings may just hit it off.

“The Olympic qualifying period will start some time in the middle of next year, so we need two or three pairs who can fight for qualification.

“Now is a good time for us to start experimenting. Vivian and Khe Wei have set the benchmark for the others. They do not have to fear anything ... as only the best will be chosen,” said Rosman.

The competition in women’s doubles will also be bolstered by the return of the Ng siblings – Hui Lin and Hui Ern – to the national team.

“It is possible that Vivian and Khe Wei may play together again, but I want to try them out with others first. My goal is to bring the best pair to win an Olympic medal in the women’s doubles and all the players have been informed on this objective.”

Khe Wei and Vivian will be given a short break upon their return to Malaysia on Monday.

In Incheon, they stole the show by beating 2013 world champions Yu Yang-Wang Xiaoli of China 21-17, 11-21, 22-20 in a second-round match en route to the bronze medal.

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