Peng Soon: Mixed team gold still within reach without Zii Jia

Game for a stretch: Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon and Cheah Yee See getting ready for training ahead of the Malaysian Open.

PETALING JAYA: No Lee Zii Jia, no problem.

Mixed doubles ace Chan Peng Soon believes Malaysia still have a distinct chance of winning mixed team gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games from July 28-Aug 8 in the absence of men’s singles shuttler Zii Jia.

Zii Jia withdrew from the Commonwealth Games to concentrate on his efforts to win the World Championships in Tokyo from Aug 21-28 but Peng Soon said the mixed team was not just about winning the point from the men’s singles.

Peng Soon said Malaysia could rely on the men’s singles (Ng Tze Yong), men’s doubles (Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik), women’s singles (Goh Jin Wei), women’s doubles (Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah) and mixed doubles (Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing) to deliver the team gold despite the looming danger from India and hosts England.

The mixed team event will be held first and Peng Soon feels that winning gold will boost the confidence of the entire team members who will be pushing for more success in the individual events.

“No doubt it is going to be a little tougher without Zii Jia but we cannot discount the mixed team gold completely. We must try to win it as we have other four points to fight from,” said Peng Soon.

“Since it is the first event, winning gold will take the pressure away from the players and they will play even more confidently in the individual events.

“We have a good team and we need to push for the team title. More golds will definitely come after that.”

Peng Soon, who will be partnering Cheah Yee See in the mixed doubles, said even he himself is not assured of playing as independent pair Kian Meng-Pei Jing would be the first choice but the veteran is ready to play any role for the sake of the team.

India, on a high after their maiden Thomas Cup success, are the team to beat where they will have Lakshya Sen (men’s singles), Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (men’s doubles) and women’s singles P.V. Sindhu in their line-up.

Peng Soon has also been going the extra mile in polishing up his combination with Yee See again as they have been paired up after a lapse of five years.

The duo will be playing in only their third tournament at the Malaysian Open.

“It is my responsibility to guide Yee See as she lacks experience playing in major tournaments,” said Peng Soon.

“We have played in Indonesia and we get to play in the home tournaments where Yee See will get more opportunities to play against the top pairs. It will be a good preparation before the Commonwealth Games.”

Peng Soon-Yee See will play Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtiyas Mentari in the first round of the Malaysian Open.

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