The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Invitational Championships is shaping up to be anything but a straightforward affair for the big names, some of whom suffered shock defeats to younger opponents on Wednesday.
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Liew Daren found this the hard way, after losing to national juniors on the opening day of the internal meet.
Goh-Tan were taken to the wire before losing 21-16, 12-21, 21-23 to world number 89 pair Chang Yee Jun-Chia Wei Jie in the men’s doubles.
The 2016 Olympic silver medalists had earlier beaten Chen Tang Jie-Nurfirdaus Azman 21-8, 21-19, and were expected to coast to their second victory of the day.
Tan described complacency as their downfall.
“Our return shots were not as good after the first game, and they did well to capitalize on that. There is no excuses, we must improve after this,” said Tan, while Goh vowed the pair will come back stronger in their next game.
The world number 14 pair are favourites to top their group, with Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin, who are ranked 28, expected to join them in the semifinals.
Liew Daren also suffered a 21-15, 14-21, 16-21 loss to Leong Jun Hao earlier in the day.
Leong, who had clinched the Division 2 title last week to earn his slot in the elite division, recovered after losing the first game with quick exchanges that left his senior opponent flat-footed at times.
“I had prepared to face him. I knew it would be tough playing him, plus I had never faced him before. It was a good morale boosting victory for me,” said the former Asian Junior champion.
Thankfully for Liew, he recovered in the next game to beat Ng Tze Yong 21-19, 21-14.
Mixed doubles star Chan Peng Soon meanwhile likened the internal meet to a Super 300 affair on the international scene.
“The mixed doubles category has three pairs in the world top 12, so it really feels like a high quality affair. Coupled with the big playing hall and air-conditioning for drift, it does give us that much needed tournament feel,” said the world number seven.
There was also an injury blow to Goh Soon Huat in the mixed doubles, who had to retire with a muscle pull against Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See.
Goh and Shevon Lai had won the first game 21-13.
The BAM are offering a total prize purse of RM60,000 for this tournament that runs until Sunday.
Lee Zii Jia bt Lim Chong King 21-14, 21-9
Ng Tze Yong bt Soong Joo Ven 21-18, 21-12
Soniaa Cheah bt K. Letshanaa 21-13, 21-11
Qi Xuan Eoon bt Lee Ying Ying 21-15, 21-9
Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin bt Chang Yee Jun-Chia Wei Jie 21-19, 21-12
Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bt Ooi Jhy Dar-Yap Roy King 21-11 21-16
Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean bt Anna Cheong-Toh Ee Wei 21-16, 21-11
Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah bt Teoh Mei Xing-Yap Ling 21-12 22-20
Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing bt Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei 23-21, 21-16
Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying bt Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei 21-18, 21-16