Team Singapore mixed doubles badminton pair Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han. Photo: SportSG
Mixed doubles pair Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han have been one of Singapore’s leading lights for badminton in the past year. The duo, who are 15th in the world rankings, have scaled new highs but will not be resting on their laurels. Instead, they have their sights set on breaking into the top 10 by 2018 —a feat replicated only once in Singapore history, by mixed doubles pair Vanessa Neo and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta, back in 2014.
“We haven’t achieved any significant titles yet, so before we do, we just have to continue working hard,” said Hee.
“Setting a goal really helps, as it gives us a direction we can follow,” he explained.
Following the lead of those who came before them has been a common feature in their careers, especially for Tan, who was born into a family of badminton fanatics. Her two sisters, Wei Wun and Wei Qi, used to play the sport competitively, while her mother would bring her to watch her siblings compete when she was a child. Inspired by their accomplishments, Tan soon grew to love the sport, and eventually picked it up herself.
Team Singapore shuttler Terry Hee. Photo: SportSG
Meanwhile, Hee did not have any particular interest in sports until his father introduced him to badminton. His parents have remained immensely supportive of his career since then, shuttling the 21-year old back and forth from home, school, and practices.
While Hee had achieved some measure of success as a doubles player prior, it was only upon partnering with Tan that he found his rhythm.
“When our coaches first put us together, they didn’t have any concrete plans in place, and weren’t expecting much out of us. It was more of a trial to see if we could work well together,” shared Tan.
“To our surprise, we actually won our first tournament as a duo together, and that was when they realised we could work,” he continued, citing their titles at the Singapore International, the Smiling Fish International and the Hungarian International.
Surprisingly, these matches with Hee were Tan’s first foray into playing doubles. Originally a singles player, she eventually discovered her preference for doubles: “I found doubles much more fun and interesting as compared to singles. In comparison, singles games take too long and can even be too slow sometimes.”
Team Singapore shuttler Tan Wei Han. Photo: SportSG
Hee shared her sentiments, preferring the rapid pace of doubles matches as well. However, since partnering up with Tan, he has had to take up a different position, namely as a doubles back court player. As a result, games have become a lot more physically demanding for him, and he has had to commit to a stricter training routine in preparation for this.
Nonetheless, sacrificing free time for regular practices is just one of the many challenges national athletes have to grapple with. That is why the duo is dispensing some advice for aspiring players looking to make their mark on court.
“Don’t go in half-hearted. You’ll struggle otherwise, and it’ll be quite painful. If you want to go all the way, you must be determined,” Hee shared.
“[But] if you really love the sport, you should try for it wholeheartedly. Don’t let anything distract you,” he said.
Next up for Tan and Hee is the upcoming Singapore Open, happening from 11th to 16th April at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. They are targeting at least a quarterfinal berth, which will greatly help in their quest for top 10 in the world rankings.
Show your support for our Team Singapore shuttlers by purchasing your tickets for the OUE Singapore Open, and catch some quality badminton action this week!