Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) has agreed to pay for the expenses of World No. 10 mixed doubles pair Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai and World No. 32 women’s singles player Soniia Cheah to participate at the Swiss Open and German Open in March.
President of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), Mohamad Norza Zakaria said that although the three players have been dropped from the Malaysian national team last weekend, they still have chances to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this July.
“They appealed to us that they need more time to find sponsors. Therefore, we agreed to cover their expenses for participating in those two tournaments as they still have the chance of qualifying for the Olympics,” said Zakaria to BH Sports.
“I met Soon Huat-Shevon today to inform them about the decision made last weekend and they understood,” added Zakaria.
“I also told them that they could return to practice at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) and use all the facilities here if they qualified for the Olympics,” continued Zakaria.
The Swiss Open will be held from March 2 to March 7 and the German Open from March 9 to March 14. Both tournaments do offer qualifying points for Tokyo Olympics.
Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai were seeded 4th at Swiss Open, while another Malaysian independent pair – Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying were seeded first.
As for Cheah, she is currently ranked No. 18 in the BWF Race to Tokyo rankings and has a high chance of playing in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Zakaria also told BH Sports that BAM has turned down applications from mixed doubles player Lai Pei Jing and women’s doubles player Vivian Hoo who were also asking for financial assistance to participate at the Swiss Open and the German Open.
Lai and Hoo were also dropped from the Malaysian national squad last Saturday.