FROM cheerleaders to winning matches again.
Mixed doubles shuttlers Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing spend more time screaming in support of their teammates rather than playing in the mixed team final against India but that has only whetted their appetite to live up to their status as the top seeds in the ongoing individual competition.
The world No. 9 pair have not been seriously tested as Chan Peng Soon-Cheah Yee See were preferred in the mixed team semi-finals against England while in the final, they were not needed on court as the others had completed the job successfully.
And Kian Meng-Pei Jing barely broke a sweat in easy wins over Zambia in the group stages and Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals.
Badminton Association of Malaysia high performance director Tim Jones feels that the pair will be raring to go in the individual event.
“I feel Kian Meng-Pei Jing are very experienced and will be sharp in their upcoming individual matches despite not being unduly troubled before this. I’m sure that they will be fresh and raring to go,” said Jones.
On whether an all-Malaysian final with Peng Soon-Yee was on the cards, Jones said: ‘’Theris definitely a strong possibility. England’s world No. 10 Marcus Eliis-Lauren Smith will be the main challengers for our pairs. We also can’t count out India’s Sumeeth Reddy-Ashwini Ponnappa.”
Another pair who could provide a stern test to Malaysia’s hopes are Singapore’s Terry Hee-Tan Wei Han.
The Singaporeans might only be ranked 35th in the world but proved their ability when they stunned Ellis-Smith in straight games in the group stages.
Meanwhile, mixed doubles independent coach Chin Eei Hui is choosing to be cautious about Kian Meng-Pei Jing’s chances.
“My hope is for them to perform well and stand on the podium. But it won’t be easy as every pair who is competing will want to win the title,” said Eei Hui, who won the mixed doubles gold with Koo Kien Keat at the 2010 edition in New Delhi, India.
Kian Meng-Pei Jing had got their gold-winning aspirations off to a good start when they strolled into the second round after disposing of Tejraj Pultoo-Ganesha Mungrah of Mauritius 21-5, 21-8 yesterday.