Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has taken tough action to overhaul its mixed doubles department by dropping the World No. 10 Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai, and splitting World No. 12 Lai Pei Jing from the Malaysian national team. Lai Pei Jing’s partner, Tan Kian Meng was still with BAM but has been given the warning to show rapid progress.
Many Malaysian badminton fans were shocked by BAM’s decision because both Goh/Shevon just made the semi-finals of the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals two weeks ago, before losing to Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yujung of Korea 19-21, 8-21.
They have improved their World ranking to No. 10 while they were ranked No. 8 in the Race to Tokyo Rankings based on their performance at the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals and the two Thailand Opens. If they could maintain their top eight positions in the Race To Tokyo Rankings, Goh/Lai could qualify for the Olympics because a country may enter up to a maximum of 2 pairs in doubles events, provided both pairs are ranked in the top 8.
Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying was another Malaysian mixed doubles pair ranked in the top 8 Race To Tokyo rankings with No. 7, but they have quit BAM at the end of 2018 to compete as an independent pair.
With the dismissal of both mixed doubles pairs, BAM has pretty much given up sending players for the Tokyo Olympics mixed doubles event, as the top 2 Malaysian mixed doubles pairs are no longer playing for the organization. It is possible that Goh/Lai may Chan/Goh’s footsteps to compete in future tournaments as an independent pair.
However, there’s still hopes for other mixed pairs from BAM to qualify for the Olympics, such as World No. 28 Hoo Pang Ron/Cheah Yee See who currently at No. 31 in Race To Tokyo rankings, but they got lots to catch up on if they want to break into top 8 of Race To Tokyo rankings.
Meanwhile, BAM also dismissed Soniia Cheah (Women’s Singles), and Vivian Hoo (Women’s Doubles) from the Malaysian senior team. Cheah currently ranked No. 18 in the Race To Tokyo rankings, and is the highest-ranked women’s singles player in the BWF rankings.