Gender equality the answer for doubles pair

Malaysia's Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing in action. - Filepic

PETALING JAYA: One of the biggest challenges in mixed doubles is having both the male and female shuttlers to be of equal strength. And that’s exactly what Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing are striving to achieve.

Kian Meng said their immediate focus under new coach Paulus Firman was to build Pei Jing’s strength and power.

“Paulus has been focusing on improving our skills, especially that of the women players. Eventually, he wants to have both players equally good and not to have one carrying more weight than the other, ” said Kian Meng.

“There are only few pairs in the world who are equally good.”

Kian Meng pointed out that the world’s top two pairs Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong and Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping were exceptional, while South Korea’s top pair Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yujung were also in the same league.

“Zheng and Huang are both skilful and powerful. One can forget about taking advantage of Zheng’s partner, she is lethal too, ” he said.

“Pei Jing and I want to reach the same standard in every department. For now, she is good in some areas and I have my strong points. Without any competitions now, we have plenty of time to work on our game.”

Kian Meng and Pei Jing had been looking forward to competing in the Taiwan Open in September but the Badminton World Federation have cancelled it along with several other Opens in the same month.

“We sensed that the tournaments would be called off when we realised that the pandemic was not abating. We will just have to wait.”

On the presence of Paulus, who took over from Chin Eei Hui last month, Kian Meng said: “The coaches are basically the same, they want the best out of us.”

“Paulus’ style is slightly different but he has the same friendly approach like our previous coach.”

When the season resumes, Kian Meng-Pei Jing will be out to qualify for the Olympics Games in Tokyo next year.

They are the third Malaysian pair in the running for an Olympic ticket, lying in 13th spot in the Road to Tokyo ranking list. The other two are Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (7th) and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (11th).

A country can have a maximum of two pairs if both are in the top eight when the qualification period ends.

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