Marathon Man Chen fights on two fronts

Ironman: Chen Tang Jie played four matches in 10 hours.

KUALA LUMPUR: Chen Tang Jie could well be the Marathon Man of Malaysian badminton.

While most competitors played two matches on the opening day of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Invitational Championships, the doubles shuttler stole the limelight by playing a whopping four matches in a span of 10 hours.

The 22-year-old is the only player entered for both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles events.

Tang Jie was reuniting with Peck Yen Wei for the first time in the mixed doubles since the latter was injured last October and formed a fresh men’s doubles partnership with probationer Mohd Nurfirdaus Azman.

Tang Jie said he had no problem with the coaches’ arrangement and was in fact honoured by the confidence they have in him.

“The last time I had to play in four matches a day was probably during the MSST (Terengganu Sports School Council) and MSSM (National Sports School Council),” he said enthusiastically.

“But of course, it’s not the same as playing four matches at elite level. Every match you play is like a final.

“The coaches put me in two events because they believed that I could handle it physically. So, I must show them that I can do it.

“In the worst case scenario, there’s still an ambulance waiting for me anytime!” he joked.

Tang Jie was particularly delighted to join forces with Yen Wei after 10 months and believed they did well despite their defeats to seniors Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing.

“Considering that these were our first competitive matches, I thought we did quite well,” said Tang Jie.

“It’s been almost a year since Yen Wei suffered a serious knee injury. In fact, she hasn’t fully recovered yet but still put up a spirited display.”

The pair won the Malaysian International Challenge and earned three World Tour semi-final appearances – at the Taiwan Open, Thailand Masters and Spain Masters – and were ranked a career-best No. 27.

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