PETALING JAYA: Managing shuttler Pearly Tan’s physical condition and tournament schedule will be women’s doubles coach Hoon Thien How’s main priority leading up to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Pearly faces a defining year along with M. Thinaah as the pair seek to qualify for their maiden Olympics.
Thien How believes that the national No. 1 pair need to strike the right balance between collecting enough ranking points in tournaments to ensure their spot in the Olympics while avoiding injuries in the process.
Pearly had suffered a right elbow injury and pelvic strain this year that kept her and Thinaah out of several tournaments including the World Tour Super 1000 Indonesian Open, Super 750 French and Denmark Opens.
As a result, the duo have missed out on the prestigious season ending World Tour Finals from Dec 13-17 in Hangzhou where only the top eight pairs in the Race to Finals rankings can make the cut.
Pearly-Thinaah, who had qualified for the Finals last year after capturing the French tourney, finished in 15th place this time.
“In terms of performance, Pearly-Thinaah did not do too badly this year as they did reach two finals (in the Malaysian Masters and Hong Kong Open where they finished runners-up),” said Thien How.
“But they were forced to skip a few tournaments due to Pearly’s injuries and they could not make it to the Tour Finals because of this.“So, the main thing next year is to make sure Pearly stays fit.
“She is an explosive player on court and this makes her prone to injuries. We have developed a plan for her to help her strengthen her core muscles to try to protect her from injuries.
“In her last two tournaments with Thinaah – Japan and China Masters recently – she managed to play without any pain.
“She needs to now maintain her physical condition.”
Thien How also believes that Pearly-Thinaah’s tournament schedule next year needs to be carefully planned.
“There have been too many tournaments this year and our pair had no choice but to compete in order to collect ranking points in the race to qualify for the Olympics,” said Thien How.
“But next year we will try to be more selective on which tournaments to send them to.
“We will prioritise the Super 1000 and 750 events while we will see their condition first before deciding on the rest.”
Pearly-Thinaah, who are currently ranked No. 12 in the world, need to maintain their position in the top 16 until the end of the Olympic qualifying period in April next year to make the cut.
The pair have been given a one-week break and will resume training next Monday.
Pearly-Thinaah’s next assignment will be the Malaysian Open from Jan 9-14 in Bukit Jalil.