Four still in the mix

  • Badminton
  • Wednesday, 27 Nov 2019

Two pairs for Tokyo?: Malaysians (from left) Shevon Lai Jemie, Goh Soon Huat, Goh Liu Ying and Chan Peng Soon could all make it to the Olympic Games next year.

Petaling Jaya: A DOUBLE double in the mix in Tokyo 2020 – that’s the dream of our Malaysian shuttlers.

Independent pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying have called on Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie to realise the dream of having two Malaysian representatives in the mixed doubles competition at the Olympic Games for the first time next year.

Only the top 16 pairs will qualify for the Tokyo Games when the one-year qualifying period ends in April, but a country can have a maximum of two pairs if both are ranked in the top eight.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying and Soon Huat-Shevon are currently ranked No. 6 and No. 8 respectively.

While Peng Soon-Liu Ying have been holding on steadily to their place in the the top eight, Soon Huat-Shevon have worked their way up from No. 13 in April after going through a rough patch over the last few months – no thanks to a hamstring injury that hit Soon Huat.

The rejuvenated duo have been going great guns in their recent three back-to-back tournaments, reaching the semi-finals of the Fuzhou China and Hong Kong Opens before coming in runners-up at the Korean Masters last week.

Peng Soon was delighted to witness the resurgence of his former national teammates.

“We’re so happy for Soon Huat and Shevon. Seeing them playing well recently really fired me and Liu Ying up and keep working hard, ” said Peng Soon.

“It’s definitely a good thing for both pairs to try outdo each others during this one-year qualification period.

“Instead of feeling threatened, we prefer to look at it positively. At the end of the day, it’s our ultimate goal to get two Malaysian mixed doubles pairs qualify for the Tokyo Games. Hopefully we can make it happen together.”

Peng Soon-Liu Ying are the only Malaysian mixed doubles pair to have played at the Olympic Games. They made their debut in London in 2012 before winning silver in Rio de Janeiro four years later.

Liu Ying has wished Soon Huat-Shevon and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing well at the Philippines SEA Games and hope they can end Malaysia’s 20-year gold drought in the mixed doubles.

The last time Malaysia tasted success was through Chew Choon Eng-Chor Hooi Yee in Brunei 1999.

“Peng Soon and I came close with a silver four years ago in Singapore (losing to Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto), we know how much SEA Games glory means to Malaysians, ” said Liu Ying.

“Hopefully one of our pairs can win it this time.”

Peng Soon-Liu Ying, the Thailand Masters and New Zealand Open champions this season, are taking advantage of a two-week break to prepare for the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou from Dec 11-15.

They will be making their fourth appearance in the Finals. Their best outing was reaching the semi-finals of the now-scrapped Superseries Finals in Kuala Lumpur in 2013.

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