MIXED DOUBLES: Coach believes Peng Soon-Liu Ying can deliver Olympics medal
NATIONAL coach Jeremy Gan reckons Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Malaysia's sole representatives in the mixed doubles, have everything to fight for as there are no clear favourites in the event in the London Olympics.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying have also broken the deadlock by becoming the first Malaysian pair to qualify for the mixed doubles, achieved on merit as they are ranked World No 7 with a string of consistent results this year.
The pair won the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold last month but their performance in the super series, where they have reached the semi-finals of the Malaysia Open, All England and Singapore Open, have given them hope in the London Games.
World No 1 Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei of China -- who have won two titles -- and Indonesia's Ahmad Tantowi-Liliyana Natsir, winners of the All England, Swiss Open and India Open, are the main contenders but Jeremy said there is little to separate the top eight pairs and it will boil down to their day-to-day form during the competition at Wembley Arena on July 28-Aug 3.
The mixed doubles will be held in a four-group preliminary format where the top two will advance to the quarter-finals. The format will also favour the Malaysians and Jeremy said the first target is to reach the knock-out stage.
"The mixed doubles is very open as all the top eight pairs have won at least one title this year. This is including Peng Soon-Liu Ying and I believe they have a chance for a medal," said Jeremy.
"Tantowi and Liliyana have done well this year but the former lacks experience while Zhang Nan-Yunlei are strong.
However, Sudket (Prapakamol)-Saralee (Thungthongkam) have also surprised by winning the Indonesia Open while the two Danish combinations and Taiwan also have experience on their side.
"Peng Soon-Liu Ying have also beaten most of the top pairs and must play with confidence in order to reach the medal rounds. The first target is to clear the group stage."
Jeremy confirmed that Peng Soon has recovered from his wrist injury while Liu Ying has a minor arm injury.
"Peng Soon-Liu Ying play well as underdogs and I hope they can take advantage of the situation."
However, the fact that Peng Soon-Liu Ying have not beaten Zhan Nan-Yunlei or Tantowi-Liliyana is a concern but the Malaysians have nothing to lose and this could help them.