KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s doubles shuttler Goh V Shem is in a race against time to get fit to qualify for the lucrative season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in Shanghai.
The 29-year-old picked up a right ankle injury during his last-16 exit with Tan Wee Kiong at the China Open three weeks ago.
V Shem could not train since then, forcing the pair to skip both the upcoming European tournaments in Denmark (Oct 16-21) and French Open (Oct 23-28).
Their absence from the two top-flight meets means they should slip further in the World Tour standings.
Only the top eight from each of the five disciplines will qualify for the prestigious US$1.5mil (RM6.23mil) event.
V Shem-Wee Kiong are currently ranked 10th with 45,750 points in the Superseries ranking, trailing the eight-placed Liao Min-chun-Su Ching-heng of Taiwan by just 920 points.
However, V Shem is convinced that time is still on their side as he is targeting to return early next month to compete in the Fuzhou China Open (Nov 6-11), Hong Kong Open (Nov 13-18) and Korean Masters (Nov 27-Dec 2).
“It’s just really unfortunate not being able to play in Europe,” said V Shem.
“I’m still undergoing rehabilitation and can only do light training for now.
“My recovery progress is on the right track, I would say it’s almost 70% now.
“We’re aiming to return for the next tournaments in China, Hong Kong and possibly South Korea as well.
“These three tournaments will be crucial to our bid to make the top-eight cut for the World Tour Finals.
“I expect our position to drop after this month, but there’s still plenty of points up for grabs in November.
“I don’t think we’ll be too far behind the top eight, so we still have every chance to make it.”
World No. 12 ranked V Shem-Wee Kiong are under heavy scrutiny following a series of poor showings this year.
The pair 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.
V Shem-Wee Kiong also struggled to shine at the World Championships in Nanjing, China, and the Indonesian Asian Games, managing only last-16 and quarter-final spots respectively.
Last month, they were sent packing in the first round of the Japan Open and only reached the last 16 at the China Open in Changzhou.
This led to Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria issuing an ultimatum to V Shem-Wee Kiong, saying that they would be grounded if they are to lose early or to lower-ranked opponents.
“The results have been below par but I think our efforts should not be faulted. We always give our best,” said V Shem.
“There are still two months before the end of this year, we will try to prove our worth.
“Qualifying for the World Tour Finals and winning it may be the best way to answer the critics.”
It was at the season-ending event where V Shem-Wee Kiong last tasted success two years ago, in the now-defunct Superseries Finals in Dubai.