PETALING JAYA: All’s well with the Malaysian squad for the All-England after an eventful and dramatic flight.
The seven-member squad’s plane on the way to Birmingham on Saturday was forced to make an emergency landing in New Delhi, India, because one of the passengers was sick en route to Amsterdam. They had to go through two more transits before finally arriving in Birmingham.
Then, they found their luggage missing and had to skip their first training session at the Barclaycard Arena on Sunday. The tournament proper will begin tomorrow.
But Vivian Hoo, who partners Woon Khe Wei in the women’s doubles, took all the problems in her stride.
“We arrived early on Sunday morning and only got our luggage late at night. We had to cancel our first training. But all is fine now after all the buzz and rushing around,” said Vivian.
Vivian and Khe Wei are making a return to the All-England after missing the action last year due to a blunder by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM). Then, there was an issue with their registration and the duo had to skip the tournament.
“It’s great to be back again. This is also our first international tournament this year. Naturally we’re quite excited,” said Vivian.
“We really need a big win to give our partnership a boost this season. Last year, there were many narrow misses. We put up great fights against the top pairs but were never able to finish well,” said Vivian.
Vivian-Khe Wei’s best result at the All-England is a quarter-final finish in 2013. They were early casualties in their three other outings in 2012 (first round), 2014 (second round) and 2015 (first round).
Unseeded Vivian-Khe Wei have been drawn against Puttita Supajirakul-Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand in the first round. If they go through, they will take on third seeds Jung Kyung-eun-Shin Seung-chan of South Korea for a place in the quarter-finals.
The others in their half are second seeds and Olympic silver medallists Kamilla Ryter Juhl-Christinna Pedersen of Denmark and fifth seeds Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan of China.
In the top half are Olympic champions and top seeds Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi of Japan, fourth seeds Chang Ye-na-Lee So-hee of South Korea and China’s sixth seeds Luo Ying-Luo Yu and seventh seeds Huang Dongping-Li Yinhui.
The other Malaysians competing in the world’s oldest badminton tournament are Lee Chong Wei and Zulfadli Zulkiffli (men’s singles); Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem and Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin (men’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles).
Only Chong Wei has won the championships in 2010, 2011 and 2014.