Kuala Lumpur: Despite the excitement that came with winning the Swiss Open on March 7, 2021 by Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan, Malaysia’s women’s doubles chief coach, Chan Chong Ming, wanted to keep his protege level-headed.
He would like the World No. 19 pair to stay focused and work harder to improve performance.
“They still need to improve their fitness, psychology, and skills in order to bridge the gap between them and top pairs from Japan, China, and Korea,” said Chan.
Tan/Muralitharan began to emerge and show signs of improvement when they managed to advance to the quarter-finals of the two Thai Opens in January. They lost to World No. 6 Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia 15-21, 12-21 at the YONEX Thailand Open, and lost to compatriots Chow Mei Kuan/Lee Meng Yean 20-22, 12-21 at the Toyota Thailand Open.
Their brilliance continued when they made a strong run at the Swiss Open by clinching the women’s doubles title, as well as advancing to the All England quarter-finals before losing to World No. 10 Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida of Japan 12-21, 22-20, 16-21 in a battle that lasted exactly one hour.
“I am happy with the improvement shown by the two players who started playing as a pair in 2019. They managed to reach the target of being in the top 20 in the world earlier than expected,” added Chan.
“I’m glad they managed to reach the world’s top 20 in only a few tournaments. Moving forward, I want to see them in the world’s top 15 by the end of the year,” continued Chan.
Meanwhile, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) announced that it’s ready to make a bigger investment in the country’s young players to give them adequate exposure on the international stage.
BAM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said after the world has recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, BAM would send Malaysian young players to compete in 10 to 15 tournaments a year to prove their capabilities and improve their rankings.
“It doesn’t matter if the player is 17 or 18 years old, if they have the potential to be in the top 10 in the world, we will accept it,” said Zakaria.
“I congratulate our players who won three championships at the Polish Open. Therefore, the most important thing is that we continue to give them opportunities,” added Zakaria.