KUALA LUMPUR: They may not be Pocahontas, but Goh Liu Ying and Lai Pei Jing share a similar trait.
They are both fighters.
And coach Tan Kim Her is hopeful the two ladies can help break Indonesia’s grip on the badminton mixed doubles event at the Singapore SEA Games.
“Liu Ying and Pei Jing are fighters. We have a chance to upset the favourites if they can rise to the occasion,” said Kim Her.
At the Games, Liu Ying will partner Chan Peng Soon while Pei Jing will pair up with Tan Aik Quan. Indonesia are the favourites in the June 13-16 competition.
“Liu Ying has regained her confidence after the long break (due to surgery on both knees). She has a better grip of the game now and her partnership with Peng Soon is solid.”
Kim Her said that Pei Jing has come a long way too.
“She’s more mature in her game. Her brief partnership with Peng Soon has helped her become bolder on court. Like Liu Ying ... she never gives up,” he said.
In the world rankings, Pei Jing-Aik Quan are at No. 45 while Peng Soon-Liu Ying are at No. 53.
Indonesia are banking on world No. 9 Riky Widianto-Puspita Richi Dili and world No. 10 Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto to keep their impressive tradition going in the Games’ mixed doubles event.
Indonesia have won the mixed doubles gold medals at the last five Games through Nova Widianto-Lilyana Natsir (2005 in Manila and 2009, Laos), Flandy Limpele-Vita Marissa (2007, Korat), Tantowi Ahmad-Lilyana Natsir (2011, Palembang) and Muhd Rijal-Debby Susanto (2013, Myanmar).
Malaysia last won the mixed doubles gold through Chew Choon Eng-Chor Hooi Yee at the 1999 Games in Brunei.
The other mixed doubles pairs with a chance of landing the gold medal are Singapore’s Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Vanessa Neo (world No. 15) and Thailand’s Sudket Parapakamol-T. Saralee (world No. 16).