Nova hopeful for injury-free journey for Tang Jie-Ee Wei

KUALA LUMPUR: National mixed doubles coach Nova Widianto is keeping his fingers crossed that his top pair, Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei, will remain in good health for the Paris Olympics.

The Indonesian two-time world champion admitted that the injury, which forced singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong to undergo surgery for a spinal disc problem, has taught him that nothing should be taken for granted.

Tze Yong could be out for six weeks, which will also see him miss two crucial World Tour legs in Europe — the French Open and All England — leaving his Olympic dream in tatters.

Nova revealed that Ee Wei recently recovered from her right-hand injury sustained during the Thailand Masters earlier this month.

The setback had restricted Ee Wei's training regimen, with her focusing more on footwork due to the limitation.

"Ee Wei took some time to recover, but she resumed full training this week," said Nova.

"She has dedicated considerable effort to improving her footwork and will be ready for the upcoming European events.

"However, caution is crucial; we don't want them to suffer a serious injury, as we've seen with Tze Yong. I genuinely hope our players remain injury-free until the Olympics."

Currently ranked No. 9 in the Race to Paris rankings, Tang Jie-Ee Wei are well-positioned to qualify for the Paris Games.

They must maintain a top-13 ranking to secure a spot among the 16 pairs, with the remaining three slots reserved for Oceania, Pan America, and Africa.

Nova has also challenged Tang Jie-Ee Wei to capitalise on their morale-boosting result in Thailand as they head to Europe.

"Their improvement in Thailand, both mentally and in character, is commendable. Although it was a Super 300 event, reaching the final speaks volumes," said Nova.

At the All England, Tang Jie-Ee Wei will face Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai, the pair who narrowly defeated them for the Thailand Masters title.

Nova has backed his charges to turn the tables on the 2021 world champions despite being 5-1 down in the head-to-head record.

"I never doubted their ability. Tang Jie-Ee Wei just need to be patient and resilient," said Nova.

"Dechapol-Sapsiree are known for their strong defence. With the normally slow shuttle speed at the All England, it is even more important for them to play patiently."

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