Nine first-timers in 23-member squad to Huelva worlds

Debutants: Malaysia’s women doubles pair M.Thinaah (right) and Pearly Tan will be going to their first World Championships.

PETALING JAYA: Nine national shuttlers are set to make their World Championships debut in Huelva, Spain from Dec 12-19.

Men’s doubles pair Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, S. Kisona (women’s singles), Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah and Teoh Mei Xing-Yap Ling (women’s doubles) and Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See (mixed doubles) were among 23 Malaysians who made the cut based on the qualification criteria set by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

Sze Fei-Izzuddin, Mei Xing-Yap Ling and Pang Ron-Yee See can thank their lucky stars as they made it through the Phase 2 selection.

They were initially placed on the reserves before being invited to replace the Phase 1 qualifiers who withdrew.

Malaysia will now have a maximum of four pairs in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles events.

In men’s doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi booked their berths via Phase 1 by virtue of being the top 24 ranked pairs in the world on Sept 21.

Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie were automatic qualifiers in the mixed doubles.

Malaysia joined Indonesia and China as the only three nations with a full-representation in men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Malaysia also secured two men’s singles slots through All-England champion Lee Zii Jia and veteran Liew Daren, the 2018 Nanjing edition bronze medallist.

Malaysia could have had a representative in women’s singles but independent shuttler Soniia Cheah turned down the offer.

Of the 23 players, Peng Soon-Liu Ying are the most experienced as they will be making an eighth appearance.

Their best achievement was reaching the quarter-finals in 2018 and at the last edition in Basel two years ago.

Debutant Yee See is determined to make her presence felt with Pang Ron.

“It was a surprise that we got in because we didn’t qualify outright,” said Yee See.

“So there’s more reason to not let this opportunity go to waste. We’re aiming to at least make the last eight.”

Malaysia will be counting on Zii Jia and Aaron-Wooi Yik to end the jinx at the world meet.

Former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and a few others have came close.

Chong Wei settled for silver in London 2011, Guangzhou 2013 and Jakarta 2015.

The other runner-ups are Wong Choong Hann (Birmingham 2003), Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Paris 2010), Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock (Glasgow 1997), Soon Kit-Soo Beng Kiang (Birmingham 1993) and Jalani-Razif Sidek (Beijing 1987).

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