Malaysia mixed doubles pair Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei did the country proud after delivering the first title of the year at the Iran International Challenge, a success Toh attributed to new doubles coach Nova Widianto.
“Our victory is a result of our trust in each other. This is not a big tournament, but is important nonetheless as it will elevate our ranking to play in bigger events. I am happy that our chemistry is also improving.
“Coach Nova has been instrumental to our growth. He is such an experienced coach, and he has taught us well especially on strategy and team tactics,” Toh said.
The pairing of Chen-Toh, who were only paired late last year, proved a masterstroke as they hit the ground running almost immediately.
They won the Bangladesh International Challenge and finished runners-up at the Malaysia International Challenge, both in December.
At the Malaysia Open in January, they did well to reach the quarter-finals, before sealing their second title as a pair by beating national team-mates Hoo Pang Ron-Teoh Mei Xing 21-19, 21-15 in Tehran last Sunday.
As a result, the pair swiftly moved into the top 50 world rankings at 48th and clinched Malaysia’s first on the international stage this year.
Toh also had a storied past with the national team when she returned for a third time two years ago.
The 23-year-old had won a silver medal with Pearly Tan at the World Junior Championships in 2018, but quit a year later due to health issues.
She returned to the national fold in 2019, but it didn’t go according to plan and she left again only to return in 2021.
She is now enjoying new-found success with Chen, and the orange coloured hair combination will next see action at the Asia Mixed Team Championships in Dubai from February 14-19.
Malaysia are in Group B along with India, Kazakhstan and hosts United Arab Emirates.