PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s hopes of having two mixed doubles pairs qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics are now brighter.
A recent suspension of South Korean doubles shuttler Seo Seung-jae from the national team is pleasant news for Malaysian pairs - seventh-placed Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (pic) and 10th-placed Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie.
The talented 22-year-old Seung-jae has been banned from the national team until Dec 31 after signing two contracts with two professional teams simultaneously last month, according to reports by Korean media.
Prior to the ban, Seung-jae was on course to qualify for the Tokyo Games in both the mixed doubles and men’s doubles.
He’s ranked sixth in the world with Chae Yu-jung in the mixed doubles and seventh in the men’s doubles with Choi Sol-gyu.
With Seung-jae-Yu-jung not expected to feature in the remaining Olympic qualifying tournaments until the cut-off date on April 30, the path is open for the Malaysians to climb up the world rankings.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying have a great opportunity to overtake the Koreans in sixth place and it can also pave the way for Soon Huat-Shevon to leap into the top eight if they do well in the German Open (March 3-8) and All-England (March 11-15).
A nation can have a maximum two pairs in the doubles event if both are ranked in the top eight at the end of the qualification.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) secretary Datuk Kenny Goh admitted that Korea’s loss could be Malaysia’s gain but cautioned that the situation could change as an appeal had been made to the Badminton Korea Association (BKA).
“We can’t be sure if the ban would last. Seung-jae’s partners are appealing. But if the ban stands, Soon Huat-Shevon will have a chance and let’s hope they’ll make the most of it.”
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