Nova’s mission to produce more mixed doubles players hits a snag


KUALA LUMPUR: It is never wise to rely solely on only one top pair, but national mixed doubles coach Nova Widianto acknowledges that it is a tough task to produce more players to ensure continuity in the department under the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).

Hopes were pinned on world No. 9 Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei to fare well in tournaments, as they are the only pair who stood out in the national set-up.

They were also the only mixed doubles pair who qualified for the Paris Olympics in July.

Nova realised the need to cultivate more players after acknowledging the significant gap between Tang Jie-Ee Wei and the other pairs in BAM.

However, his mission to develop more players has hit a snag due to a lack of female players.

“We have to be honest, there aren’t many female (players) in Malaysia, but I think there will be players for two or three pairs,” said the two-time world champion from Indonesia.

“Seniors (athletes) should also not retire immediately so that Malaysia has many good pairs.

“It is true that I have my own target and if possible after this, the mixed doubles section can become the focus in Malaysia, after all it has been there from the beginning.

“Chan Peng Soon (and Goh Liu Ying) also won silver at the 2016 Olympics, so I hope we can continue and do better.”

No other mixed pair have matched the feat of Peng Soon-Liu Ying in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Nova agrees with the comment made by former mixed doubles legend Chan Peng Soon, who retired last Wednesday, that the mixed doubles should receive equal attention as the other departments.

He believes that allowing young players to play in two events is helpful for their development as shuttlers.

“No problem (playing two categories) as it is not permanent and this allows them to gain more experience,” said Nova.

“Once they are more stable, focus will be given to specific events according to their potential.”

In the ongoing Malaysian Masters, the BAM have no representatives in the final of the mixed doubles event after Tang Jie-Ee Wei crashed out in the semi-finals after losing to independent pair Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie on Saturday.

Yap Roy King-Valeree Siow and Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee failed to clear their first round while Hoo Pang Ron-Cheng Su Yin bowed out in the last 16.

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