KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Whatever happened between national women’s doubles shuttlers Pearly Tan and M. Thinaah during the China Masters last week is just normal, said national women’s doubles head coach Hon Thien How.

He said it was not necessary to make a mountain out of a molehill following speculations that the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallists had a misunderstanding, which resulted in them crashing out in the first round of the tournament in Shenzhen.

He explained that everything had been sorted out after an open discussion between the two shuttlers after the China Masters.

“To me, it’s just normal stuff for doubles pairs, some say they argued, but they didn’t. If they had argued, it would have been good because that would mean they are thinking of winning. If they do not argue, we coaches are more afraid because we do not know what they are thinking. Perhaps, they feel like they can’t win... if the partner makes a mistake and there’s no reaction.

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“When they express their feelings and reprimand a mistake made, the partner must accept it because everyone makes mistakes, (and) nobody is perfect. What is wrong must be rectified,” he told reporters when met after the training session at Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) here today.

Thien How said world number 12 Pearly-Thinaah did not join the training session today as they have been given a one-week break.

Previously, national badminton fans had speculated that there was something amiss between Pearly and Thinaah after the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallists barely spoke to each other en route to losing 11-21, 21-15, 20-22 to South Koreans Jeong Na Eun-Kim Hye Jeong in the first round of the China Masters on November 22).

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Elaborating on their overall performance this season, Thien How said they did well to reach the finals of the Malaysia Masters and Hong Kong Open this year.

However, he said they missed out on qualifying for next week’s Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals in Hangzhou, China as they could not compete in several tournaments following an injury sustained by Pearly.

“It’s not they did not perform well because they did reach the semi-finals of several tournaments and two finals, although we can still see there’s a gap between them and the world’s best pairs, especially from Japan and China. To overcome the world’s best, they must be smarter and improve tactically and not just rely on their existing strengths.

“For Pearly, we have identified that she needs to strengthen her core muscles because she is an explosive (attacking) player... need to strengthen her core and leg muscles. She is now already working on her core muscles and, so far, after two tournaments (the Japan Masters and China Masters), she has not complained about any back pain,” he said. — Bernama