KUALA LUMPUR: Teaming up Chen Tang Jie and Toh Ee Wei was probably the best decision ever made by the national badminton team in the past year.
In just seven months since they started their partnership, Tang Jie-Ee Wei took a step closer to winning their second World Tour title of the season after powering into the semi-finals of the Taiwan Open today.
Despite playing in their sixth tournament in as many weeks since the Sudirman Cup in Suzhou, China last month, the world No 19 showed no sign of fatigue by breezing past home opponents Yang Po Hsuan-Hu Ling Fang 21-15, 21-14.
Tang Jie-Ee Wei, who won the Orleans Masters in France in April, remained the only World Tour winners Malaysia can brag about with the BWF flagship circuit reaching it halfway mark of the season.
Tang Jie-Ee Wei will face Taiwanese Ye Hong Wei-Lee Chia Hsin in the last four after the latter prevented an all-Malaysian affair by eliminating Hoo Pang Ron-Teoh Mei Xing 21-18, 21-14.
Ee Wei said the pair have really come a long way from having to start from scratch to becoming a world top-20 combination and among the country's front-runners to qualify for the Paris Olympics.
On Monday. Ee Wei and Tang Jie were named in the Road to Gold programme, underlining the faith that the Malaysian top sports officials have in them.
"It wasn't an easy journey. I would say we felt the pressure way more at the start of our partnership because we don't know what was ahead of us at that time," said Ee Wei.
"But thanks to guidance from two great coaches Nova (Widianto) and coach Rexy (Mainaky), we managed to reach where we are now.
"Glad that we're enjoying another good run this week. We will try to get into the final first. Even Super 300 tournament is not easy to win."
Meanwhile, independent singles shuttler Yeoh Seng Zoe's fairy tale run has come to an end.
The 25-year-old went down 21-5, 21-17 to Taiwan's Yang Su Li, but can still walk tall as he will hang up his racquet with his best outing on the World Tour, which featured also his career's biggest win over world No 14 Kanta Tsuneyama on Thursday.
"My body couldn't recover from yesterday's match, there was nothing more I can do. That's exactly the reason why I decided to call it quits," said Seng Zoe, who is a former national Under-21 champion.
Seng Zoe said he will report for duty at Badminton Ireland as a junior coach as soon as he receives his work permit.
The Penang-born Seng Zoe, who joined the national team at the same time as Lee Zii Jia, failed to realise his potential as a world beater, because of a major knee injury.
"I tried my best to resurrect my career after leaving the national team. It wasn't too bad. There was at one point where I enjoyed a very good stretch (in late 2021 to early 2022) where I won the Irish Open and Austrian Open and also came in runner-up at the Swedish Open," he said.