Coach confident in Pearly-Thinaah's Asian Games readiness despite injury scare

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's doubles coach Hoon Thien How is confident his charges, Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah will be ready for the Hangzhou Asian Games challenge.

Thien How's comments comes in the wake of an injury scare involving Pearly during the Hong Kong Open final on Sunday.

World No. 10 Pearly-Thinaah settled for second best in the Super 500 event after going down 14-21, 24-22, 21-9 to Indonesia's Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti.

During the third and deciding game, Pearly required medical assistance, causing concern among badminton fans.

Some criticised the 2022 French Open champions, suggesting that they were making excuses, particularly since they had won the first game and held a healthy lead in the second.

Thien How, however, downplayed the injury.

"I can assure you it's nothing serious. We will start preparing for the Asian Games."

Thien How also disagreed that Pearly-Thinaah performed below par in the final.

"I'm actually pleased with their performance.

"It's difficult to say that we didn't want to win because Pearly-Thinaah were fighting in the second game deuce for points.

"Yes, perhaps there was a lapse in focus when they lost the second game.

"They went for the push in the third, but when things didn't work out, it got to them," said Thien How.

Following their return from Hong Kong on Monday, the pair is set to rejoin the national team's centralised training camp this week.

Since Malaysia did not field a women's team for the Asian Games, Pearly-Thinaah will compete in the individual event in early October, with the draw scheduled for Oct 1.

The last Malaysian women's pair to win an Asian Games medal were Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei, who secured a bronze at the 2014 Incheon Games.

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