PETALING JAYA: Independent men’s doubles shuttler Tan Wee Kiong got himself a timely boost ahead of the All-England.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist became a dad for the first time with the birth of a baby boy on Sunday, a day before leaving with partner Goh V Shem for the All-England in Birmingham.
“Welcome my little prince!” posted Wee Kiong on his Instagram with a picture of him carrying his newborn alongside his wife Chia Shi Leng in the labour room.
Wee Kiong-V Shem will be making their fifth All-England start together, albeit this time as professionals.
Their best result to date was reaching the semi-finals in 2016. They made it to the last eight in the last two years including in 2017 when they were the top seeds.
The world No. 13 will be aiming to mount a strong challenge after rediscovering their form recently. They won the Thailand Masters and reached the semi-finals of the Malaysian Masters in January.
Wee Kiong-V Shem face a tricky first- round match against Berry Angriawan-Hardianto Hardianto of Indonesia tomorrow.
An all-Malaysian last 16 is on the cards if Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi could upset fourth seeds Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe in the other opener.
Yew Sin-Ee Yi, who defeated Wee Kiong-V Shem, en route to clinching the national title two weeks ago, will be eager to settle the score against the Japanese after losing to them in the German Open quarter-finals last week.
The other pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik are also in the intimidating top half draw that comprises Indonesia’s world No. 1 and two-time winners Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and world No. 9 Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto and world No. 6 Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup of Denmark.
The three pairs will be bidding to end Malaysia’s 13-year drought since Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong’s triumph.
Meanwhile, Liew Daren is hoping that his injury will not recur in Birmingham.
Daren injured his left foot when he stunned world No. 2 Shi Yuqi of China in the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Masters in January.
The 31-year-old returned to play in the National Championships in Ipoh two weeks ago but his first-round match against unheralded Lee Shun Yang lasted only three minutes.
“I’m feeling better now since the national meet. But I still need to see how my foot reacts in the next two days,” said Daren, who opens his campaign against Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon.
In the worst-case scenario, Malaysia will still have a representative in the men’s singles challenge.
If Daren withdraws, compatriot Lee Zii Jia who is the first reserve, is ready to replace any of the 32 players who pulls out at the eleventh hour.
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