Chan-Goh miss Thailand Masters title but secure Rio spot

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s been a bittersweet outing for mixed doubles shuttlers Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying at the Thailand Masters.

The seventh-seeded Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s quest for victory ended miserably when they went down 17-21, 15-21 to China’s Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen in a 38-minute final at the Grand Prix Gold tournament in Bangkok.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying showed good control in the beginning, but it wasn’t long before the fast-attacking world junior champions came charging back to win in convincing fashion.

Despite the defeat, world No. 15 Peng Soon-Liu Ying can still afford to smile because their ticket to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August is secure.

Thanks to their final appearance, they have consolidated their No. 11 position in the Road to Rio ranking list. Only the top 16 pairs will get to go to Rio when the one-year qualifying period ends in April.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying, however, were left to rue their chances of nicking their seventh career title, having won the Asian Badminton Championships (2010), Bitburger German Open (2011), Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold (2012), Japan Open (2012), Polish Open (2015) and Mexico Open Grand Prix (2015).

Liu Ying felt that the outcome would have been different “if we had adopted the right tactic”.

“We struggled to get our game going. We lost more points today because we did not execute a good tactical game. It could have been a better game,” said Liu Ying.

“The young Chinese pair have great potential and they showed that they are here to stay. They have everything going for them, but we will learn more about their game in time to come.”

Peng Soon said that the challenge would only get tougher when they shift their attention to the German Open in Mulheim from March 1-6 and the All-England in Birmingham from March 8-13.

“We have a solid two weeks training programme ahead of the German Open and the All-England. The opponents will be tough right from the opening round ... we have to polish up our game,” said Peng Soon.

“I was error-prone in the final today. I have to get a better grip of my game. We do not want to just make up the numbers in the Olympic Games ... we want to be medal contenders. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”