No friction between Pearly and Thinaah, coach confirms

BADMINTON fans who have been unduly worried that there may have been a falling out between top national women’s pair of Pearly Tan and M. Thinaah can now breathe easy.

According to national women’s coach Hoon Thien How, it was just minor on-court misunderstanding which has been resolved.

With the pair which is seen as medal hopefuls at next year’s Paris Olympics seemingly showing the cold shoulder to each other in their first-round defeat to South Korea’s Jeong Na Eun-Kim Hye Jeong at the China Masters last week, obviously fans are left concerned.

“To be honest, misunderstandings between partners are not uncommon. I would be more worried if the players had no misunderstandings at all. When you call your partner out or are unhappy about something, it shows your desire to win,” the New Straits Times quoted Thien How as saying at the Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara.

Pearly Tan-Thinaah Muralitharan emerged women’s doubles champions at the French Open 2022 (Pic credit:

“As Pearly-Thinaah are very serious about winning, they may have had a brief moment on the court. There is no need to panic or blow this out of context. After the match that day, I spoke to them and the matter has been put to bed,” assured the 36-year-old who alongside Tan Boon Heong (who later partnered Koo Kien Keat) were the World Junior Champions in 2004.

This is certainly music to the ears of Malaysian badminton fans that the competitive spirit of both close buddies is alive and strong in the pair which is currently ranked 12th in the world.

Sports fans will recall how another pair – albeit in a different sport – struck up a lethal partnership despite not being especially friendly with each other. Teddy Sheringham and Andrew Cole struck fear in opposition defenders while playing together for Manchester United and England in the 1990s.

The lethal combination of Andrew Cole (left) and Terry Sheringham (right) after helping Manchester United win the Champions League final at the Nou Camp against Bayern Munich in 1999

If Pearly and Thinaah can replicate the footballing duo’s killer instincts, then Malaysia might well have a chance at gold at the upcoming Olympics. The pair will next compete at the Super 1000 Malaysia Open scheduled on Jan 9-14 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil. – Nov 30, 2023

Main pic credit: Utusan Malaysia

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