Reaching final like a lifeline extension for indie pair V Shem-Wee Kiong

On fire: Goh V Shem (left) and Tan Wee Kiong beat Indonesian pair Leo Rolly Carnando-Daniel Marthin in the semi-finals of the Thailand Open at the Impact Arena in Bangkok.

PETALING JAYA: The smiles are back on the faces of veteran men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong.

V Shem-Wee Kiong gave their Tokyo Olympics qualifying hopes a big boost by storming into the Thailand Open final after beating young Indonesians Leo Rolly Carnando-Daniel Marthin at the Impact Arena in Bangkok yesterday.

Experience triumphed over youth as V Shem-Wee Kiong held off a late surge from the Indonesian pair to win 21-19,21-10 in 29 minutes.

V Shem-Wee Kiong, the world No. 14, will take on Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin of Taiwan in the final today.

It was a morale-boosting win for V Shem-Wee Kiong as they took to court as the Rio Olympics silver medallists and were under pressure to beat their younger Indonesian opponents, who are also the reigning world junior champions.

Rolly-Marthin had beaten three higher ranked opponents, including Rio Olympics bronze medallists Marcus Ellis-Chris Langridge of England, to secure their first semi-final appearance in a BWF (Badminton World Federation) World Tour event.

More importantly, stepping into the final is like a lifeline extension to V Shem-Wee Kiong as they are independent players and were greatly affected by the disruption of the world circuit last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now the pair will pick up a pay cheque of either US$74,000 (RM298,000) or US$35,000 (RM141,277) depending on the outcome today.

“Last year it was so difficult, we had zero income. We had to maintain ourselves and we have families, the question was how to manage and we are still learning, ” said V Shem on the official BWF website.

“As independent players we have to handle a lot of stuff ourselves, we have to arrange everything, ” echoed his partner Wee Kiong.

Bangkok could turn out to be a happy hunting ground again for V Shem-Wee Kiong as it was in the same city where they won the Thailand Masters title two years ago.

“It’s good that we can get to the final after such a long period. At the moment we are enjoying the game, that’s most important for us. We will study our opponents for tomorrow and stay focused, ” added Wee Kiong.

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