The clock i$ ticking


No funds, no fun: Money’s too tight to mention for Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing

PETALING JAYA: Time is running out for independent shuttlers Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing to secure funds for their Europe trip and Olympics dream.

No sponsors have come to their rescue just yet ahead of the Swiss Open in Basel (March 2-7) and the All-England (March 17-21).

If no one steps forward to lend a hand, the duo will have to fork out about RM60,000 of their own money to cover the cost for their Europe trip.

“We’ve met a few sponsors but nothing has been confirmed for different reasons and we understand. We really hope to secure a deal before we leave next week, ” said Pei Jing.

“If nothing works out, Kian Meng and I will have to pay our own way. It’s a lot of money. It’s expensive in Europe, more so because of all the standard operating procedures, ” she said.

They can’t stay in any cheap accommodation as it has to be the one provided by the organisers and they don’t come cheap.

Pei Jing knows there are bound to be struggles as an independent player but is determined to overcome the challenges to realise her Olympics dream with Kian Meng.

“Now that we are on our own, it’s different. We’ve to prepare everything on our own but we will not let this dampen our spirit, ” she said.

Pei Jing was one of the five shuttlers dropped from the national team two weeks ago based on a review done on her game at the back-to-back tournaments in Thailand last month.

The others were Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (mixed doubles), Soniia Cheah (women’s singles) and Vivian Hoo (women’s doubles) but Kian Meng was spared the axe.

Kian Meng, however, decided to quit the national team to stick with his partner and Pei Jing can’t thank him enough.

“He could have had an easy life by staying put with BAM but he decided to leave so that we can go after our Olympics dream as a pair. That is very selfless and noble of him, ” said Pei Jing.

“I’m so grateful because of his trust and faith in me. Now, he has to go through this difficulty together with me.

“All these will only spur Kian Meng and I to push ourselves even harder to do well. We’ve never gone to any tournaments with an intention to lose, so we will head to Europe with the same fighting spirit, ” she said.

Pei Jing and Kian Meng are now training together with the other independent shuttlers Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi under the guidance of coach Chin Eei Hui.

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