The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have opened its doors to professional shuttlers Soniia Cheah as well as Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying to join the centralised training programme to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics in July.
The BAM made the decision to have all shuttlers who have qualified for Tokyo to train under one roof, especially in light of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.
"It is my hope that they are able to train together well and at the same time build a good relationship with each other. When reach Tokyo, there are BAM or professional players, just a united group playing for the Jalur Gemilang," said BAM president Norza Zakaria.
The BAM are leaving its doors open for other independent shuttlers who can make the cut to Tokyo to join them before the end of qualifying on June 15.
But due to the Malaysia Open being postponed, the Singapore Open (June 1-6) is the only event offering qualifying points..
Besides Soniia and Chan-Goh, the other shuttlers who have made the cut to Tokyo are Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles), Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles) and Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (women’s doubles).
Shevon Lai, who formed the mixed doubles combination with Goh Soon Huat, was devastated to see their chances all but dashed.
"This was our dream, over decades of hard work. With the Malaysia Open becoming the latest victim to the Covid-19 pandemic, our chances to fight for a spot in the top eight has been jeopardised. Hurdle after hurdle, trials after trials, we have prevailed through.
"But this time, the battle is beyond our means," said Lai, who were ranked 11th on the Road to Tokyo (RTT) rankings.