A Tan of laughs

PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles professional shuttler Tan Kian Meng is known as the gentle giant among the Malaysian badminton fraternity.

The 29-year-old, standing tall at 1.85m, is one of the happy-go-lucky guys and a respectful player but even he felt that some of the fans had gone overboard with their remarks and decided to let them get a taste of their own medicine but in a fun way.

Kian Meng, who partners Lai Pei Jing and are currently ranked 25th in the world, took to social media to respond to some of the fans’ rants. He hoped that those who support the professional players would have a better understanding of the plight the players go through before making unsubstantiated assumptions.

Not as serious as he looks: Tan Kian Meng chooses to look at the funny side of the unfair criticism he and partner Lai Pei Jing have been subjected to. —AFPNot as serious as he looks: Tan Kian Meng chooses to look at the funny side of the unfair criticism he and partner Lai Pei Jing have been subjected to. —AFP

He found the statement made by one of the fans quite hilarious, which read (has been corrected due to poor grammar) – “Another first round loss. Both players can prepare for retirement soon. Totally (have) no improvements. No fighting spirit. Bad attitude. They’ve just taken it easy. Play for fun only.”

An amused Kian Meng said he had to set the facts right.

“Hello bro, we pay for our own trip and travel far for tournaments, you think we are here to have fun? You think we are all millionaires? If we do retire now, who is going to play, - you?” asked Kian Meng.

There was a tinge of sarcasm as Kian Meng answered several others, including one from this fan who posted “everyday play badminton but you dish out this?”

“What dish, you think this is about food? Every player plays badminton but not everyone wins all the time,” said Kian Meng.

Kian Meng probably was most irritated with another’s snide remark “you better play Super 100 series (lower-tiered tournament), but even then it’s unsure whether you will win.”

“If all play Super 100 series, who will play the Super 500, Super 700. Those who make comments, why don’t you go and play?

“At least, we can qualify for the Super 100, can you? So please, don’t use your keyboard as a racquet here.”

Kian Meng, however, was appreciative of the majority of his fans.

“Not all are like this. Some are very positive and they give opinions in a respectful way. If we don’t do well, we appreciate those comments, as it will help us grow and do better,” said Kian Meng.

Whether they are positive or negative comments, Kian Meng’s focus remains the same – to perform better in every tournament.

In yesterday’s German Open, the unseeded Kian Meng-Pei Jing fought hard to beat England’s Gregory Mairs-Jenny Mairs 24-22, 20-22, 21-19 to set up a meeting with eighth seeds Rinov Rivaldy-Pitya Haningtyas of Indonesia.

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