KUALA LUMPUR: Mixed doubles shuttler _ Lai Jemie has lost in a race against time to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games but she is not beating herself up for it.
A spate of injuries as well as the Covid-19 pandemic have deprived Shevon and her partner Goh Soon Huat of their chances to earn valuable ranking points in Olympic qualifying tournaments over the last one year – and ending their hopes too.
They had already lost some ground following injury to Soon Huat last year but they had worked very hard to put their qualification bid back on track with some good showing this year.
But now, due to Covid-19, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) have postponed all the Olympic qualifiers until the end of the qualifying period on April 30 – ending hopes of all those chasing to qualify in these final six weeks.
The All-England in Birmingham, which was held in the second week of March, was the last tournament that offered Olympic points but unfortunately, Shevon-Soon Huat were beaten in the opening round.
They dropped to 11th in the Road to Tokyo ranking list – four rungs lower than independent shuttlers Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying.
A country can have one pair if they are in the top 16 ranking at the end of qualification but they can have two if both pairs are in the top eight standing.
Shevon-Soon Huat had a chance to make the top eight and become Malaysia’s second mixed doubles pair together with Peng Soon-Liu Ying to qualify for the Tokyo Games based on their good form but time was certainly against them.
It did not help as all the tournaments have been either scrapped or postponed.
“It’s sad but that’s the reality – we did not qualify for the Olympics based on the current situation. Time did not favour us, ” said Shevon.
“Last year, we missed quite a bit of tournaments because of injury to Soon Huat. We did not give up and got ourselves back in the race with some good showing. Now, we have no more tournaments to qualify.
“It’s alright. We tried our best to qualify under different challenging circumstances. At least, that gives us satisfaction – we did try.
“The Covid-19 is beyond our control. Health is important and all the measures taken are for the best.”
Shevon-Soon Huat had hoped for the BWF to give all the players a break by extending the qualification period – but the world body decided to stick to their decision.
“The decision has been made and we have to move on. It’s not the end of the game for us, there will be other tournaments to look forward to once Covid-19 is contained. Soon Huat and I will be ready to pick up where we left – and fight for honours for the country.”
The Malaysians who are as good as assured of their places for the Olympics besides Peng Soon-Liu Ying are Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles), Soniia Cheah (women’s singles), Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles) and Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (women’s doubles).
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