Perfect belated wedding gift

In control: Goh Soon Huat (right) and Shevon Lai Jemie in action against Indonesia’s Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas during the final match. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The day will be long etched in the memories of independent mixed doubles pair Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie after they ended the country’s seven-year wait by lifting the Malaysian Masters title.

Yesterday, world No. 18 Soon Huat-Shevon earned themselves the perfect belated wedding gift by securing an impressive 21-18, 21-19 win over Indonesia’s world No. 15 Rinov Rivaldy-Pitha Haningtyas in the final at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

The newlyweds were the first pair to win in the home tourney since the 2017 edition, where they finished runners-up after going down to compatriots Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing in the final.

They were also the first Malaysians to win a title on home soil since Datuk Lee Chong Wei claimed the men’s singles title in the 2018 Malaysian Open.

And the success more than made up for their first-round exit at the Thailand Open just two weeks.

It was Soon Huat-Shevon’s second title of the year, following their victory at the Swiss Open in March.

Soon Huat-Shevon were overjoyed with the achievement.

“It has been a dream to just stand in front of our home crowd and win the gold for our family and fans,” said Shevon.

“Seeing the crowd cheer for us and having our family support us in the arena brought tears to my eyes.

“Compared to Switzerland, it is different and I can say that it is a really sweet memory for us.

“Coming into this tournament, we didn’t expect much because looking at the draw, we have a few hurdles and challenges that we have to overcome.

“Even though we have beaten them more times, but this is the final, and everyone is striving to improve.

“They have their own tactics and they have improved, so we were expecting a tough match... we weren’t overconfident and prepared well.

“I’m very glad that we both managed to control our emotions and the game.

“My partner has been very patient throughout the past few games and today (yesterday), he put me in a good position no matter where I was on the court.”

Despite losing the support of the National Sports Institute (NSI) after being dropped from the Road to Gold (RTG) programme last November, Soon Huat-Shevon refused to give in.

“Actually, it was quite a challenge for both of us to recover, especially after a tough match,” said Shevon.

“Thankfully, we have some good friends who were there to help us whenever we reached out to them, and they were willing to lend a hand.

“However, there is a limit, so we have to find a more consistent and permanent solution. I think both of us will continue to uphold one another.

“We will really try to find a way on how to work this out, but we are more motivated to continue after winning these two titles.”

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