Soon Huat and Shevon toughen up for five straight tourneys in last-ditch effort to reach Paris

PETALING JAYA: The odds are stacked against Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie in the race to the 2024 Paris Olympics but the independent pair will continue with the difficult chase as they play five consecutive tournaments in Europe beginning this week.

Soon Huat-Shevon are ranked world No. 16 and trail Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) pair Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei, ranked No. 16, by more than 12 points with six more international competitions left to play.

Overtaking Tang Jie-Ee Wei is the only way for Soon Huat-Shevon to earn their Olympic spot as it is almost unlikely that both will make it to the top eight to secure automatic berths when qualification ends at the end of April.

Besides the ongoing German Open in Mulheim, Shevon confirmed that they will compete in four more events – the French Open in Paris (March 5-10), All England in Birmingham (March 12-17), Swiss Open in Basel (March 19-24) and the Spanish Masters in Madrid (March 26-31) – in their last-ditch effort to qualify for Paris.

“It is the crucial stage of the Olympic qualifying and we will compete in all five European tournaments. Not thinking too much about the overall outcome, we just want to give our best shot in every round,” said Shevon.

“We would like to take it one tournament at a time and will first focus on a good start in the German Open.”

Soon Huat-Shevon should not have much trouble overcoming India’s Ashith Surya-Amrutha Pramuthesh in the first round in Mulheim today.

They have a fighting chance to reach the semis if they can overcome potential second round and quarter-final rivals Terry Hee-Jessica Tan of Singapore and Rehan Naufal-Lisa Ayu of Indonesia respectively.

“Both (Terry-Jessica and Rehan-Lisa) are strong pairs and we have to fight hard in each match,” added Shevon.

A spot in the semi-finals will be a rousing start for Soon Huat-Shevon but they need to be consistent to reach that stage.

A top-eight appearance in the French Open and All England, and top-four spots in the Swiss Open and Spanish Masters will be the ideal results for Soon Huat-Shevon to realise their Olympic dreams.

Such a superb run will be difficult to attain in the current highly competitive mixed doubles scene but this what they should strive for.

A spirited run from Soon Huat-Shevon should also put Tang Jie-Ee Wei on their toes when they start their run in Europe with the French Open next week.

Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, the other independent pair competing in the German Open, will play England’s Gregory Mairs-Jenny Mairs in the first round today.

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