SINGAPORE - The chemistry that brought Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han together was in full bloom on Sunday (Jan 16) as they celebrated their biggest win, beating Malaysia’s world No. 40 pair Chen Tang Jie and Peck Yen Wei 21-15, 21-18 in the India Open mixed doubles final.
The 182nd-ranked Singaporeans, who tied the knot last October, earned US$31,600 (S$42,590) – the most of their career – and should rise into the top 100.
It was their seventh title together but first Super 500 triumph, the fourth tier of the Badminton World Federation World Tour circuit.
Being partners on and off the court occasionally “affected our private lives”, the couple said jokingly.
Hee, 28, added: “Sometimes when we train or compete badly, or have differing views on a match, the conversation will continue back home. It’s like talking about work, after work, but all this boils down to one common objective, which is to win.
“I would like to think that between us, I’m the boss on the court. But off the court, she’s the boss.”
Hee and Tan were once ranked as high as world No. 33 in 2017. They halted their partnership in 2019 when Hee enlisted for national service, and reunited on court only last year. Tan also had surgery for her shoulder in 2018 and for her knee in 2020.
Tan, 26, said: “This win means so much to me because it is a result of all the dedication and hard work that we have been putting in.
“It is especially emotional for me because I have gone through so many setbacks, had to restart from scratch and work on getting back to the top of the game again.
“It’s been so tough and I have broken down so many times. That’s why I’m so grateful for this win and I’m also thankful to the Singapore Sport Institute physiotherapy team who never gave up on me.”
The winners’ cheque was a welcome one, she added.
“Being married has led to more financial commitments. This prize money is a one-off thing and is a small step to easing our burdens. It is not easy being a professional athlete, hopefully our win coupled with Singapore’s recent success can attract more sponsors and funding.”
The duo will compete in this week’s Super 300 Syed Modi International in Uttar Pradesh. Their main target this year is to win a medal at the SEA Games and Commonwealth Games.
Singapore Badminton Association technical director Martin Andrew said: “One of their strengths is their variability in attack... utilising Terry’s speed and agility while Wei Han creates opportunities from the front court.
“Their movement as a pair is good and they cover each other well. They also showed that they have the ability to re-focus when rallies go against them.”
Meanwhile, at the lower-tier Estonian International, Singapore’s world No. 647 duo of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Andy Kwek lost 21-17, 17-21, 21-16 to Thailand’s fifth seeds but unranked pair Ruttanapak Oupthong and Sirawit Sothon in the men’s doubles final.