PETALING JAYA: The independent players have not been doing justice to their chances of Olympic qualification as they have performed below par in tournaments in Europe.
Except for men’s doubles Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie, who did well to reach last week’s Swiss Open semis and final respectively, the others have been struggling throughout their stints.
Singles players – Cheam June Wei, Soong Joo Ven (men) and Goh Jin Wei, S. Kisona (women) have not made it past the preliminary rounds.
Independent coach Nova Armada, who is in charge of the singles players except Kisona, said they needed to play with more consistency to achieve better results.
World No. 41 June Wei lost 15-21, 13-21 to Christian Adinata of Indonesia in the second round of the Spanish Masters on Wednesday while Joo Ven (50) lost to Magnus Johannesen of Sweden 19-21, 29-27, 21-16 in the first round of the qualifiers on Tuesday.
Nova said the shuttler needed to put in more effort to remain in the Olympic qualifying race.
“June Wei’s form is inconsistent. If he had reached the quarter-finals in two events in Europe, he can break into the top 35 and get the opportunity to play in the super 750 to super 1000,” said Nova.
“Generally, the performance of the independent players are not good and players like June Wei must be more confident.
“They can cut down on tournaments by producing better results. For example, if June Wei had reached the final of the German Open, he doesn’t have to play in the Orleans Open (starting in Orleans on Tuesday) next week.
“June Wei has a chance to reach the last eight in Orleans but he must be consistent.
“As for Joo Ven, he played very well against Ng Tze Yong during the Swiss Open but lost in three games but had picked up a heel injury.
“He was leading 19-10 against Magnus but lost in three games. The heel was swollen and he could hardly walk. He is in the draw of the Orleans Open but it depends on his injury now.”
These players need to break into the top 32 soon or they will find it difficult to remain in the race for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Meanwhile, doubles coach Rosman Razak felt that the independent pairs cannot run away from playing in more tournaments as they needed to safeguard their world rankings with the Olympic qualifying period starting on May 1. ‘‘Most of the pairs had played three tournaments in Europe and some just played two. Logistically, it is better to play in two or three events as it is not cheap competing in Europe,” said Rosman.
“If the pairs play in very few tournaments, their world ranking will drop and it affects their Olympic qualification. It is the same situation for our rivals.
“So we need to get the right balance of producing good results and also play in enough tournaments to keep improving the world rankings.”
In the Spanish Masters mixed doubles, Chan Peng Soon-Cheah Yee See also crashed out in the first round after losing Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva of Indonesia 21-18, 21-19.