Kuala Lumpur: “The prettiest doubles pair”, one of the names that Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei of Malaysia have picked up during their women’s doubles career. The pair has been a force of nature for the Malaysian team since making their breakthroughs by beating Nitya Krishinda Maheswari-Greysia Polii of Indonesia to win the gold at the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games.
The pair went on to win the mixed team and women’s doubles golds at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. They also made their second consecutive trips to the SEA Games final in Singapore two years ago, but had to settle for silver after losing to teammates Amelia Anscelly/Soong Fie Cho 18–21, 13–21.
But what now for the World No. 14 pair? The pair seemed to have lost their mojo of late, losing 7-21, 14-21 to Olympic champions Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi from Japan in the quarterfinals of the Sudirman Cup, and only managed to reach the quarterfinals twice this season — Swiss Open and Asian Championships in China.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria had given an ultimatum to the pair that anything less than a gold medal at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games will probably see Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei being split up.
“The Kuala Lumpur SEA Games will be different compared to the Myanmar edition. We were underdogs in 2013, and we are facing a lot of pressure this time,” said Hoo.
“We need to watch out for pairs from Thailand and Indonesia, and we hope to do well at home this time.”
Despite their recent slump in form, there is still hope for ‘The prettiest doubles pair’. Since they have not been playing in any tournaments for a while, Hoo/Woon will use the New Zealand Open which will be held in Auckland from Aug 1-5 as their SEA Games warm-up tournament.
“If we can do well in New Zealand Open, that will improve our confidence level.”