A good mix but will they match? Vivian and Wee Kiong get set for new venture

PETALING JAYA: It can’t get better than this as independent shuttler Vivian Hoo has teamed up with Tan Wee Kiong to give themselves a shot at a mixed doubles career.

Vivian-Wee Kiong will use the Dutch Open from Oct 13-17 in Almere as their launching pad. Both will be involved in two events as they will also play in the women’s and men’s doubles with Lim Chiew Sien and Tan Kian Meng respectively.

While happy with the partnership, the 31-year-old Vivian is also cautious about their first appearance together.

“Finally, Wee Kiong has agreed to play in the mixed doubles and we will see how it goes at the Dutch Open, which is a lower tier tournament,” said Vivian.

The partnership was made possible after 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist Wee Kiong split up with Goh V Shem. They have decided to explore fresher pastures with new partners.

“I’m excited but we don’t want to set any targets. I’ve not played in any competition for eight months and there had not been any training due to the lockdown until recently.”

Vivian, who formed the country’s top partnership with Woon Khe Wei and did well to reach the 2016 Rio Olympics quarter-finals, was dropped from the national team in February.

“As Wee Kiong and I do not have a world ranking, we have to look at smaller tournaments and start from scratch,” she said.

“We hope to play in at least seven tournaments before the year ends and the best way is to remain in Europe as there are more tournaments there.

“Our participation also depends on our doubles events, as it’s our preference. If both of us are in the same tournament, we will then sign up for the mixed and hope to qualify. We are the reserves in the Denmark and France Opens.”

Vivian has secured Protech Sport as her equipment sponsor but is looking for other support to fund her travel.

“Some of our friends are chipping in for our travel to Europe but it’s not enough. We may do crowd funding for support for the time being,” she said.

Asked why she would go through all the trouble, Vivian said: “I really miss the sport. It has been something that I’ve done for a long time, and it’s not easy to just give up... and I can still play.

“There is a different kind of pressure as an independent player. I play for myself and for our sponsors... the goal is to win. It’s not about going there to have fun,” added Vivian.

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