TheStar Feb 7' 06

KUALA LUMPUR: Back-up doubles shuttlers Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui have been asked to be on their toes and get ready to enter the fray during Malaysia's campaign in the Thomas Cup Asian Zone qualifying tournament in Jaipur, India from Feb 15-19.

Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui made the cut for the Thomas Cup qualifier following their outstanding achievement in reaching the semi-final at the last month’s All-England.

The other two pairs in the team are Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat and Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah.

National doubles coach Rexy Mainaky said that no one would be treated as mere passengers in the team to Jaipur.

“The players will be fielded depending on their strength over their opponents and it will also depend on the draw. (The draw will be made today). Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui may be playing as a pair for the first time in this team event but they will have to be ready as they can be called up for any of the ties,” said Rexy.

“Based on their All-England outing, they have already proved that they can take on top pairs in the world.”

Rexy was also happy with the commitment of the other men’s doubles pair –Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock, Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Gan Teik Chai and Hoon Thien How-Tan Boon Heong – who were not selected.

“They have been giving their best during the sparring sessions and helping out those getting ready for the qualifier. This is the team spirit that I want. These pairs will be given the chance to compete in tournaments in April (Philippines Open and the Asian Championships) to adapt to the new scoring format (21-point in best-of-three game),” added Rexy.

Woon Fui meanwhile, is relishing the prospect of playing in his first Thomas Cup tournament.

The 23-year-old Woon Fui hopes that their fine run will continue in the qualifier and it will be good enough to strengthen their claim for place in the Thomas Cup Finals in Japan from April 28-May 7.

“Unlike Fairuzizuan, this will be my first experience. We will be out to give our best. Our main goal is to represent Malaysia in the Finals,” said the stout Woon Fui.

The 23-year-old Fairuzizuan played in the 2002 Thomas Cup qualifier with Gan Teik Chai in Melbourne where Malaysia emerged as the Asian Zone champions.

Currently, the duo are ranked 10th in the world.