Top eight will do nicely for this pair

Top eight will do nicely for this pair

Singapore's top badminton women's doubles pair Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei have not had it easy for the past two months.

The world No. 14 duo lost at the first stage of the Commonwealth Games, despite being the top seeds, and then had to withdraw from the Badminton World Federation World Championships in Denmark last month because of Yao's injured hand.

But national doubles coach Chua Yong Joo hopes the tandem can at least reach the quarter-finals of the Asian Games, which starts on Friday and ends on Oct 4.

Speaking to The New Paper before the team departed for Incheon yesterday morning, Chua said: "We are hoping that they can at least do as well as they did at the last Asian Games."

HISTORY

In Guangzhou four years ago, the Singapore pair lost to eventual winners Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei of China in the quarter-finals.

That showing came months after they won the Singapore Open and clinched silver at the Commonwealth Games.

In contrast, the pair's best result this season was a semi-final showing in the China Masters Grand Prix Gold in April, as well as a mixed team bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

But Chua said: "Their preparations (for the Asian Games) have been good so far; we analysed our performances at the Commonwealth Games, the good and bad, and made adjustments from there."

"They wanted badly to win a medal in the mixed team event at the Commonwealth Games and went all out, and had little left mentally when it came to the individual event."

"(Yao's) rehabilitation is also going well; she hasn't complained about pain for a week already."

Said Yao: "I feel okay now to compete in the Asian Games.

STRONG COMPETITION

"There are many strong countries competing in Incheon - China, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, just to name some - so it is difficult to target a medal there."

"But it is the Asian Games after all, it comes just once every four years and the atmosphere is just different from other competitions, so I will definitely fight hard in every match."

Looking ahead to the South-east Asia Games here in June next year, Chua says they may review the doubles pairings.

He said: "It depends on who we are facing in the competition."

"We have reshuffled pairings in the past and we might do it again, but we will analyse the team's performances at the Asian Games and take it from there."

sayheng@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Sept 17, 2014.
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