PETALING JAYA: Staying at the top is just as huge a challenge as chasing the frontrunners.
Shuttlers Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei can certainly attest to this.
Right after reaching a career high No. 9 in the world to become the country’s No. 1 mixed doubles pair, Tang Jie-Ee Wei, who were only paired together last December, experienced their toughest defeat during their short partnership so far.
The duo looked good for the win after leading 19-13 in the third game against China’s new pairing Guo Xinwa-Wei Yaxin in the second round of the Hong Kong Open but inexplicably squandered their advantage to lose 18-21, 21-12, 19-21 in Kowloon recently.
The Chinese pair went on to win the title.
The defeat was a harsh lesson for Tang Jie-Ee Wei and proved that they still had work to do to cement their place as an elite pair.“We cannot afford to think that we are the top pair in Malaysia,” said Ee Wei, who had done little wrong with Tang Jie since they started playing together.
“We had a big loss in Hong Kong. It was a really bad moment for us as we had a big lead and should have won.
“I’m not saying that we could have won the title if we had beaten them but we need to learn from this and make sure that this won’t be repeated.”
Ee Wei and Tang Jie, who often credited mixed doubles coach Nova Widianto for playing an important role in their speedy progress, felt the brunt of his anger after the defeat.
“He was really angry that day but he kept supporting us,” said Ee Wei.
“He told us that we need to hit the shuttle in and not to rush to finish the game. He is a very strict coach but he pushes us to be better.”
Tang Jie-Ee Wei are currently preparing for the Asian Games in Hangzhou which starts on Saturday.
“The Games will be my first multi sports event. I never even competed in the SEA Games before,” she said.
“It’s a very big tournament but we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves as the No. 1 pair.
Ee Wei celebrated her 23rd birthday on Monday and was glad to have her family members at her side.
“I just had a small celebration with my parents and sister, who came down to Kuala Lumpur from Melaka,” said Ee Wei, who hopes for belated gift in Hangzhou by winning a medal.