PETALING JAYA: Malaysian mixed doubles ace Chan Peng Soon had to forgo the recent Chinese New Year celebration to play in the Indian Premier Badminton League (PBL) for the first time.
But it was all worthwhile as the 31-year-old steered Bengaluru Raptors to a successful title defence in the three-week competition that ended in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Teaming up with South Korean Eom Hye-won, the pair clinched the winning point by triumphing 15-14,14-15,15-14 against Krishna Prasad Garaga-Kim Ha-na of the Northern Eastern Warriors in the final at GMC Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium.
It helped Bengaluru Raptors seal a 3-1 win over Northern Eastern Warriors, with the other points delivered by World Championships bronze medallist B. Sai Praneeth and Taiwan’s world No. 2 Tai Tzu-ying in the men and women’s singles ties respectively.
Peng Soon and Hye-won also played a pivotal role in the the semi-finals as it was their deciding victory against English pair Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock that sent their club into the final following a 3-2 win over Pune 7 Aces.
Peng Soon had certainly justified the 3mil rupees (RM174,400) that the Bengaluru paid to acquire his service.
He played 10 matches in total, including two with Indonesia’s Rian Agung Saputro in the men’s doubles, and won eight of them.
“I couldn’t ask for a better debut (in the PBL)!” said Peng Soon, who flew home yesterday.
“I’m so happy to have played a part in helping my club retain their title.
“I also wanted to thank them for having faith in me.
“It’s been a tiring three weeks. Before that, I had also competed in the back-to-back Malaysian and Indonesian Masters.
“Now, I just want to have a good rest and spend time with my family. I didn’t get to celebrate the Chinese New Year with them, now I need to make up for it.”
Peng Soon said he would love to play in the PBL again if he has the opportunity.
“It was a joyful three weeks, I must say, ” said Peng Soon.
“The PBL was really well organised. I also had lots of fun with other international players. We hung out and had meals together, and at the same time exchanged views about badminton.”
Liew Daren also played in the PBL, which entered its fifth season. His team Hyderabad Hunters finished fifth in the seven-team league.
Besides Peng Soon, the other Malaysian shuttlers who had won the PBL before were Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah (Hyderabad Hotshots in 2013) and Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong (Delhi Dashers in 2016).
After a brief break, Peng Soon will be resuming his preparations with partner Goh Liu Ying for the All-England from March 11-15.
They are on course to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as they are currently ranked seventh in the Race to Tokyo rankings.
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