German Open’s off and indie pair’s hopes dive

PETALING JAYA: The last-minute postponement of the German Open due to the Covid-19 outbreak is threatening to derail independent men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi’s Olympic dream.

The resurgent Yew Sin-Ee Yi were already facing an uphill task of qualifying for the Games as they currently sit 17th in the Race to Tokyo rankings.

They need to break into the top eight before the Olympic qualifying period ends on April 31 as two other pairs – Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (10th) and Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (13th) – are ahead of them in the battle for places in Tokyo.

A country can have a maximum of two pairs in the Olympics only if both are ranked in the top eight before April 30.

The postponement of the tournament in Mulheim, Germany, has resulted in them losing a chance to collect valuable ranking points.

Although Yew Sin was disappointed, he was still optimistic of their chances of making their maiden Olympic appearance.

“We cannot control this as it is out of our hands. We will just continue preparing for other tournaments, give all we have and hope for the best,” said the 25-year-old.

He and Ee Yi will now turn their attentions to the All-England tournament in Birmingham from March 11-15. They will also be desperate to do well in the other Olympics qualifiers in India (March 24-29) and Malaysia (March 31-April 5).

The national No. 3 pair have been through a roller coaster ride since the beginning of the year as they were shockingly dropped by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), and had to scramble to find sponsors to fund them as an independent pair.

Their resurgence began almost immediately when they captured the Thailand Masters, their first title in four years.

They were then picked by BAM for the Asia Team Championships in Manila a fortnight ago ahead of their higher-ranked compatriots, V Shem-Wee Kiong.

Yew Sin-Ee Yi played two matches in the team meet, both against scratch pairings and recorded mixed results.

They beat India’s Dhruv Kapila-Lakshya Sen in the group stage but could not keep the tie alive in the final for Malaysia at 1-2 down against Indonesia. They lost to Mohammad Ahsan-Fajar Alfian.

Yew Sin admitted that the pair found it difficult to cope with the pressure of having to save the tie for the team.

“We were under pressure to deliver and unfortunately our tactics did not work,” he explained.
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