PETALING JAYA: Former international Woon Khe Wei has backed blossoming women’s pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah to come good in three years time and be a contender at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The 32-year-old believes Pearly, 21, and Thinaah, 23, can only get better following a series of impressive displays which saw them rise to a career-high No. 19 in the world.
The pair made it to at least the quarter-finals in all four tournaments they competed in thus far, with the Swiss Open title as the highlight as they bagged their maiden World Tour title.
Khe Wei, who still follows the national team development with interest despite having retired in December 2018, said she was impressed by their style of play.
“It’s unique and a delight to watch. They are not only good in attack but also strong in defence, ” said Khe Wei, who was once ranked world No. 9 with Vivian Hoo.
“They always keep their opponents guessing with their next move, which makes them tough to play against.
“I have high hopes on them and I wouldn’t be surprised if they land a medal in Paris.
“But the most important thing is, they must keep their feet firmly on the ground.”
Khe Wei added that Pearly-Thinaah can establish themselves as podium contenders for the next Olympics by bringing in consistent results at major tournaments.
And to do that, they must break the three-country dominance namely Japan, South Korea and China.
The pair have already accumulated some prized scalps, beating two world top 10 pairs – Thailand’s No. 8 Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai at the All-England in March and South Korea’s No. 9 Chang Ye-na-Kim Hye-rin at the Thailand Open II in January.
“The moment they start making it to at least the semi-finals on a regular basis, that’s when we know they are good enough for an Olympics medal, ” added Khe Wei.
Khe Wei-Vivian reached the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympics five years ago. It marked Malaysia’s best-ever result in the women’s doubles since badminton was introduced at the 1992 Barcelona Games.