Peng Soon-Yee See bid emotional farewell to badminton at Malaysia Masters

KUALA LUMPUR: It was an emotional farewell for Malaysia's mixed doubles specialist Chan Peng Soon, who played his last international match at the Malaysia Masters today (May 22).

Playing in front of a packed Axiata Arena on Wesak Day, 36-year-old Peng Soon, who turned professional in 2022, and his partner Cheah Yee See, exited the first round after going down 21-10, 21-6 to China's Cheng Xing-Li Qian.

The low scores carried very little meaning, nor was it a concern to Peng Soon-Yee See, who had anticipated the Super 500 event to be their last tournament before they hung up their racquets for good.

"Let's not talk about the match. It was horrible, so let's skip that part," joked Peng Soon, who was attached to the Penang BA before joining the national setup at 18.

Peng Soon, who made history when he won Malaysia's first Olympic medal (silver) in mixed doubles with his then-partner Goh Liu Ying, admitted it was hard to control his emotions on the court.

"I'm still having mixed feelings, but I'm also at peace. I felt like crying just now, but I told myself to control my emotions," he said.

Peng Soon, who runs a badminton academy with several former internationals, acknowledged that times have changed and how players today have it so much easier.

"I didn't come through the Bukit Jalil Sports School ranks. I was a state player before I joined the national backup at the age of 18.

"As a junior player then, I was sceptical about my future. For the first six months, there was no allowance, nothing. BAM provided food and accommodation, but that was it.

"The seniors would also look down on us because we were new and probably not as good. You had to suck it in and work really hard, even returning to training on Sundays.

"If I may share, I want to tell the younger players that there are no shortcuts to becoming a national or world-class player. Time waits for no one; before you know it, your career is over," added Peng Soon, who did not rule out the possibility of returning to BAM one day as a coach.

Separately, a teary-eyed Yee See said she felt strange when she woke up this morning (May 22).

"When I woke up today, it felt strange. I was finding it difficult to shake off that today might be my last day as an athlete.

"I want to thank all the fans, near and far, for supporting us all this time.

"My most memorable moment was helping Malaysia reach the Sudirman Cup semi-finals in 2021. I can't forget that because I played and won the deciding match in the quarter-finals," said Yee See.

Despite Peng Soon-Yee See's emotional exit from the competition, other top Malaysia pairs marched on into the second round.

Olympic-bound world No. 9 Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei ousted Thailand's Pakkapon Teeraratsakul-Phataimas Muenwong 21-12, 21-14, and will face India's B. Sumeeth Reddy-Sikki Reddy next.

Newlyweds Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai saw off South Korea's Ko Sung Hyun-Eom Hye Won 21-19, 21-17 to set a date with Taiwan's Yang Po Hsuan-Hu Ling Fang.

Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing, champions in 2017, had to slog hard before carving out a 21-16, 17-21, 21-19 win over Thailand's Ruttanapak Oupthong-Jhenicha Sudjaipraparat. The eighth-seeded Malaysians face South Korea's Wang Chan-Shin Seung Chan next.

The Koreans sent Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee packing 21-19, 21-16.

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