Olympic silver medalists Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying revealed their reasons for leaving Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and the ups and downs they have experienced after becoming professional players.
The pair left BAM two years ago and stated it was a joint decision, in an interview by Astro Arena.
Chan said, “There were differences in the thought process with the coach. So Goh and I were forced to choose another path.”
When a player chooses to proceed as a professional, the managerial duties also fall on them and it becomes an additional workload. Chan and Goh conveyed that there were many obstacles in carrying out this role but it gave them a new horizon of knowledge.
“I think there are many (obstacles), even in terms of a partnership. We have to think about training, travel, and finances on our own. Book your own ticket, book your own hotel. When we become professional players, we have to think about every single thing,” said Goh.
On top of these, the pair also had difficulties in finding a female sparring partner for Goh. In the end, they trained with fellow professionals and Olympic silver medalists Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong.
About her experience in training with male players, Goh said, “In mixed doubles, the female players have a softer playing style, and also a little slower, whereas the male players are stronger and faster.” She said that the male training partners had encouraged her to increase speed and strength.
Last year, Chan was also diagnosed with Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis) which gave him complications in closing his left eye. But after medication, now he says there is no problem in his practice.
As much as the obstacles they face, Chan/Goh enjoy being professional players. As a professional, Chan has more time to help his wife take care of their four children.
“Sometimes Chan says (to me) ‘Today I want to look after my kids, you practice alone,” Goh said with a laugh.
Since becoming professionals, the pair have increased their social media presence. Becoming prominient personalities and securing brand deals have become ever so more important. Chan and Goh are currently sponsored by Li Ning, Daikin and Yobick.
Their achievement at the Rio Olympics 2016 undeniably increased the popularity of mixed doubles in Malaysia which is usually dominated by men’s singles and men’s doubles. Chan and Goh said they were happy with the amount of public attention they were getting.
This month Chan and Goh were invited by BAM to train with the national team in preparation for the Olympics. Currently, they are ranked 7th in the Olympic qualification rankings.
They thanked BAM’s president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria for giving them the opportunity to train with the national team.
On competing the Olympics as professionals, Chan said, “Anything is possible.”