KUALA LUMPUR: It does not matter whether it is a short or long term stint. Mixed doubles shuttler Lai Pei Jing is determined to cherish her new partnership with Chan Peng Soon for as long as it lasts.
The 21-year-old Pei Jing is pairing up with Peng Soon because the latter’s usual partner Goh Liu Ying had decided to go for a knee surgery. Liu Ying was expected to be out of action for at least six months.
Pei Jing and Peng Soon have been named for three tournaments in Europe - the Austrian Open from Feb 19-22, German Open from Feb 25-March 2, and the All-England from March 4-9.
This week, however, Liu Ying had a change of heart, deciding to postpone her plan to go under the knife. She intends to hang on until the badminton competition at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland from July 21-Aug 4.
Fear, confusion and happiness basically sums up Pei Jing’s rollercoaster of emotions over the last two weeks. Right now, determined to make her mark, she is just waiting to learn as much as she can from Peng Soon.
“At first, when I was named to play with Peng Soon, I was nervous. I know, I will be compared to Liu Ying and I was not sure whether I could handle that pressure. Liu Ying and Peng Soon have done a great job for the country,” said Pei Jing.
“Fortunately, both my coach (Jeremy Gan) and my new partner Peng Soon motivated me and gave me a lot of encouragement.
“I was all ready to make it work with Peng Soon. Then, at Chinese New Year, I found out that Liu Ying had postponed her surgery and I became confused. Do I play or do I not play with Peng Soon?
“For now, I have been given the assurance that I will play with Peng Soon in all the three Europe tournaments. I would rather focus on that first.”
Pei Jing is hoping to win her first international title with Peng Soon in the Austrian Open, where they are the top seeds.
“It will be a good start for us if we do well in Austria. It is a small tournament and hopefully, we will be able to live up to our top billing,” said Pei Jing.
“It will be tougher in the German Open and All-England but I look forward to gaining as much experience as possible,” she added.
Pei Jing-Peng Soon have paired up before and in fact they won the mixed doubles title in the National Grand Prix Finals in Putrajaya in December.