PETALING JAYA: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Podium Programme should have second thoughts as to whether doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong can be counted on to deliver the elusive Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020.
The world No. 10 failed to even clear the first round of the Japan Open as their dismal run seem to have no end.
Yesterday, V Shem-Wee Kiong were stunned 21-15, 21-23, 19-21 by world No. 28 Manu Attri-B. Sumeeth Reddy of India for their worst-ever outing in four appearances in the tournament.
Similar to their previous defeats, the Malaysians have again failed to wrap up the match in the crucial stages. They held a match point in the second game at 21-20 but allowed their opponents to claw back to force a decider.
In the rubber game, they were on the verge of victory at 19-17 but lost the next four straight points to hand Manu-Sumeeth a place in the last 16.
The Rio Olympics silver medallists have not only failed to win a title since being reunited in January, but they also struggled to impress in all the major competitions this year.
V Shem-Wee Kiong failed to defend their Commonwealth Games gold medal in Gold Coast in April and flopped in their first doubles role at the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok a month later.
They failed to shine at the World Championships in Nanjing and the recent Indonesian Asian Games either, managing only the last 16 and quarter-finals respectively in both meets.
V Shem-Wee Kiong’s title drought has now extended to 21 months since they last tasted success winning the BWF Superseries Finals in Dubai in December 2016.
The duo had parted ways in September last year due to their strained relationship which led to them failing to produce good results.
But the split lasted only four months before agreeing to put their differences aside.
V Shem-Wee Kiong did return strongly in the first three months – finishing runners-up at the Malaysian Masters and semis at Thailand Masters and German Open – but they could not repeat the same consistencies later on.
But V Shem-Wee Kiong will still have a chance to prove the doubters wrong with a strong showing at the China Open in Changzhou next week.
It was also the end of the road for the other two Malaysian men’s doubles pairs – world No. 19 Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and independent combination Abdul Latif-Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub.
Yew Sin-Ee Yi failed in the revenge mission against Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto as they went down tamely 17-21, 18-21. Yew Sin-Ee Yi lost to the world No. 8 in the last eight of the Asian Games last month.
World No. 68 Arif-Azriyn, who made their first start in the top-flight World Tour event, gave a good account for themselves before going down 21-14, 17-21, 16-21 to world No. 16 Berry Angriawan-Hardianto Hardianto.