PETALING JAYA: Women’s singles head coach Indra Wijaya has thrown down the gauntlet to three Malaysian shuttlers.
The 47-year-old Indonesian wants S. Kisona, Goh Jin Wei and Eoon Qi Xuan to reach the semi-finals and even win the title at this week’s Spanish International Challenge.
He is eager to see his charges bounce back strongly following their lacklustre displays in March, especially Kisona and Qi Xuan.
At the All-England, Kisona was whipped 6-21, 7-21 by Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the opener while Qi Xuan could only reach the quarter-finals of the sixth-tier Polish Open before she was eliminated by Kristin Kuuba of Estonia.
Two-time world junior champion Jin Wei fared fairly well in the fifth-tier Orleans Masters before being ousted by All-England runner-up Pornpaweee Chochuwong of Thailand in last-eight.
“After going months without competitions, I hope the girls will take good advantage of this playing opportunity to prove their worth, ” said Indra, who travelled with the team to La Nucia, Spain.
“I have challenged them to aim high. Our target is all the three of them must reach the semi-finals and subsequently fight for title. They all have what it takes to win the tournament.”
The absence of world No. 22 and top seed Yvonne Li of Germany has boosted Kisona’s chances of reaching the final from the upper half of the draw.
World No. 61 Kisona, who’s the fourth seed, will open her campaign against a qualifier today.
The SEA Games’s gold champion’s first real test should be against Beatriz Corrales of Spain in the quarter-finals, followed by fifth seed Jordan Hart of Poland as her potential opponent in the last four.
World No. 128 Jin Wei and No. 156 Qi Xuan are drawn in the bottom half where they have second seed Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel and third seed Marie Batomene of France to deal with.
Qi Xuan should face little trouble against England’s Freya Redfearn before her anticipated second round clash with world No. 58 Batomene.
As for Jin Wei, her path looks clear all the way until the quarter-finals where she will most probably cross swords with Polikarpova.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Lim Chong King has been handed a pleasant boost in the men’s singles competition after being promoted to the main draw following a spate of last-minute withdrawals.
Joining Chong King in the men’s singles challenge are Malaysian professionals Misbun Ramdan Misbun and Izzuddin Shamsul Muzli.
The other national shuttlers in the fray this week include Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun, Loo Bing Kun-Lwi Sheng Hao and Yap Roy King-Nurfirdaus Azman in the men’s doubles and Teoh Mei Xing-Yap Ling in the women’s doubles.