PETALING JAYA: It’s hard to be a coach working abroad in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic but Jeremy Gan is keeping his head up.
Former international Jeremy, who is a successful mixed doubles head coach with Japan, had hoped to be reunited with his family this month but the postponement of the Malaysian Open has spoilt his plan.
The Open, scheduled from May 26-30 at the Axiata Arena, has been deferred indefinitely, due to rising Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.
“I was preparing the Japan mixed doubles players to come to Malaysia for the home tournament but then, it has been taken off the Olympics qualifying calendar, ” said Jeremy, who took up the job with Japan in 2018 and last visited his family in January.
“Initially, we were also planning to go to the Indian Open but it was called off.
“We don’t think that the Singapore Open (after the Malaysian Open) will take place either.”
Jeremy said one of the challenges of being away during the pandemic was missing all the milestones with his family.
He had to miss his son Hugo’s 12th birthday on Friday but made up for it by being “present” via an online celebration. In fact, they even took a family photo with Jeremy wishing his son from Tokyo.
“It’s tough. Last year, I visited them only once and it looks like, it’s going to be only once this year too, ” said Jeremy.
“I guess this is the sacrifice that one has to go through. My family can’t travel to Japan and I can’t be here... we just have to hope for the situation to be better.”
Jeremy, however, is keeping himself motivated by giving his best for his players.
Those under his care are world No. 5 and 2018 and 2021 All-England champions Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino and Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo, who surprised everyone to reach this year’s All-England final before going down to their compatriots.
Kaneko-Matsutomo had upstaged Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying in the semi-finals of the All-England.
The others under his care are Takuro Hoki-Wakana Nagahara and Kohei Gondo-Ayane Kurihara.
“The coaching job in Japan is good although we have our challenges. There are not many competitions and sometimes, we have to call off the training camp because the situation here is always changing.
“We can’t really plan our schedule but it’s my job to keep the players’ motivation high. It’s harder for the players.
“Despite all the tough times, I’ll encourage my players to look ahead to the Olympics. I want to see them get better and better everyday, and the ultimate goal is to do well at the Olympics.”