KUALA LUMPUR: With less than three months to go before the Tokyo Olympics, time is running out for independent mixed doubles shuttles Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie to qualify for the world’s biggest sporting event.
The recent postponement of the Indian Open from 2021 due to a spike in Covid-19 cases has further complicated the pair’s mission to secure a ticket to the Japanese capital.
Despite the narrowing of the window of opportunity, Shevon, 28, said he remains optimistic and has set his sights on the upcoming Malaysia and Singapore Open to secure their place in Tokyo.
“We have no choice but to collect as many points as possible at the Malaysian Open and the Singapore Open. At the very least, we have to reach the semi-final or the final to guarantee our chances of qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, ”she recently told Bernama.
The Malaysian Open will be held May 25-30, while the Singapore Open will be June 1-6.
Soon Huat-Shevon suffered a bumpy run in 2021, his best performance being an appearance for the last four at the 2020 Badminton Federation (BWF) World Circuit Final in Thailand last January, where they lost to South Koreans Seo Seung Jae-Chae YuJung. 19-21, 8-21.
Based on the latest BWF ranking, world number 12 Soon Huat-Shevon has 61,822 points while Rio 2016 Olympics silver medalist Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying is ranked seventh with 70 420 points. Another Malaysian pair, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, is in 11th place with 62,770 points.
Each country is allowed to have two representatives at the Olympics if they are in the top eight at the end of the qualifying round.
When asked if it would be the end of the road for them if they didn’t qualify for Tokyo, Soon Huat, 31, vowed to keep fighting.
“We won’t have any regrets if we haven’t been able to make it to Tokyo because we know we have done our best. If we fail, we will continue and try to get to Paris (Olympic Games) in 2024, ”said Soon Huat.
Shevon believes that if they can keep the momentum going and receive enough funding, they will have a better chance of qualifying for Paris 2024.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8. Bernama