March 2021 will see a new chapter in Shevon Jemie Lai’s career as she sets out to make her debut as an independent player in the Swiss Open, after being ousted from the national team.

Will she and Goh Soon Huat follow in the footsteps of Goh Liu Ying/Chan Peng Soon and Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong and carve out a successful journey as independent players?

There are early clues that they just might.

“I’ve been feeling a lot different in training lately, I find myself enjoying it more. I certainly hope this would help me and Soon Huat bring out our A-game again,” said Shevon Lai.

The 27-year-old leftie also admitted that the pressure on her shoulders is now less.

“In the earlier (Olympic) qualifiers, we didn’t do well because we struggled to deal with the weight of expectation and we now find ourselves having to play catch-up in the final stretch,” Shevon Lai told The Star.

To thrive under pressure might be a quality necessary to become a winner or a champion. But the ultimatum-approach by the Badminton Association of Malaysia for its players and coaches might prove to have been counterproductive in reality. The comments from Shevon Lai certainly suggests so.

She also stressed that the current situation does not mean they will play casually; they have a responsibility to sponsors and fans alike, they still play on behalf of the country.

Shevon Jemie Lai and Goh Soon Huat will play three tournaments in Europe in March – Swiss Open (March 2-7), All England (March 17-21) and Orleans Masters (March 23-28) to pursue their chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.