PETALING JAYA: National women’s singles head coach Indra Wijaya is ready to steady the ship after a challenging few months.
His team had depleted after former World Junior Championships runner-up Lee Ying Ying resigned in early April from the national team following her first-round defeat to Iris Wang of the United States in the Orleans Masters at the end of March.
She was the second casualty in the team after Soniia Cheah was dropped from the team earlier this year.
Promising stars S. Kisona and Goh Jin Wei restored some hope when they made it a 1-2 finish at the Spain Masters in June but the duo lost plenty of training time after they were confirmed positive for Covid-19 when they returned home.
“Kisona and Jin Wei were quarantined for two weeks after they returned. Then, it was extended for another one week,” said Indra.
“When we thought all was good, Kisona and Jin Wei were tested positive for Covid-19, and they had to go through another mandatory 10-day quarantine.
“It’s all good now, they are back in training but they have some catching up to do.”
Kisona and Jin Wei are being prepared for the Sudirman Cup from Sept 26-Oct 3 in Vantaa, Finland, while three others in the team – Eoon Qi Xuan, Myisha Khairul and K. Letshanaa – are gearing up for the Polish International from Sept 23-26 in Zakopone.
Indra said the quality shown by Kisona and Jin Wei were equal in training.
“Kisona, however, has been better in tournaments. She showed her class en route to winning the Spain Masters and has improved. Jin Wei has not reached her potential yet but is heading in the right direction.
“It’s a pity that they have lost some time in training. It has been a challenging time. Our plans keep changing and we have to make quick adjustments.
“But that’s how it is and we have to keep moving forward. For now, we will prepare Jin Wei and Kisona for the Sudirman Cup.”
Malaysia are seeded eighth in the world mixed team and will be counting on national No. 1 men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik in the men’s doubles.
In the women’s doubles, they will be banking on M. Thinaah-Pearly Tan in the absence of Chow Mei Kuan, who quit the national team last week. Mei Kuan had formed the No. 1 partnership with Lee Meng Yean.
In the mixed doubles, they may depend on any of these pairs - Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See, Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei and Choong Hon Jian-Toh Ee Wei
Malaysia have only reached the semi-finals once in the Sudirman Cup in China in 2019. They went down 0-3 to hosts.