Pearly Tan (left) and M. Thinaah celebrate after beating Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai in their Uber Cup match on Monday.

Good show by the girls despite defeats

DESPITE failing to reach the quarter-finals, there are still plenty of positives from Malaysia’s Uber Cup campaign in Bangkok.

For one, Malaysia’s young shuttlers Myisha Khairul and Tan Zhing Yi gave good accounts of themselves, especially in the group ties against Denmark and Thailand.

On Sunday, the team lost 3-2 to Denmark before their hopes of reaching the knockout stage for the first time since 2010 were dashed by the host nation in a 4-1 defeat.

Myisha, 19, played in both ties, losing 21-12, 21-9 to Line Kjaersfeldt in the third singles match against Denmark and 22-20, 21-10 against world No 10 Pornpawee Chocuwong in the second singles match against Thailand.

Another debutante, 18-year-old Zhing Yi, also gave world No 12 Busanan Ongbamrungphan a decent fight before succumbing 21-19, 21-6 in the third singles match.

BA of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann acknowledged that Malaysia still have a long way to go as far as women’s badminton is concerned but noted that the future looks bright with the emergence of these up-and-coming players.

“Coming into the tournament, we knew it would be a tall order to reach the quarter-finals, but I can say that we are pleased with how some of these youngsters have performed.

“Bear in mind, people like Zhing Yi have only been training with the senior squad for a couple of weeks before coming here.

“To play the way they did with some of the best in the world is commendable.

“Surely, they lost out on experience and physical ability, but they now know where they stand and what to work on when they head back.

“On our part, we will continue to work on their programmes to push them further,” said Choong Hann.

The former world No 1 also noted that BAM will continue to stand by underperforming women’s singles shuttler S. Kisona, who continues to struggle following a horrid season last year.

The 23-year-old former Sea Games champion was criticised for her poor performance in the opening tie against Denmark and was subsequently dropped against Thailand and Egypt.

“Honestly, Kisona has been working really hard to regain her rhythm after a very bad year. Yes, she is still finding her footing, but I believe it is important for us to stand by her.

“It is still early in the year, and we want to give her that chance to find her form,” he added.

As for two-time former world junior champion Goh Jin Wei, who came out of retirement to pursue a professional career, Choong Hann said: “Jin Wei is a gifted player, we have never questioned that.

“However, she feels that she needs to find her own way as a professional, and that is fine by us.

“As the national institution, we will support her in whatever way we can, and that sentiment remains the same.”

Women’s doubles Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah were the best performing Malaysians, winning both their matches against Denmark’s No 1 Maiken Fruergaard-Sara Thygesen and Thailand’s world No 8 Jonkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai.

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