SINGAPORE: It was not exactly a pleasant adventure for Terry Hee and Jessica Tan, but their win at the recent Guwahati Masters in Assam, India, proved to be a testament to the badminton mixed doubles players’ unwavering spirit and ability to adapt in the face of unexpected obstacles and challenges.

The duo, ranked 26th in the world, defeated Mads Vestergaard and Christine Busch from Denmark 21-19, 21-11 in the final at the Sarju Sarai Indoor Sports Complex on Dec 10. With the win, Hee and Tan picked up a prize money of US$7,900 in the US$100,000 Guwahati Masters tournament.

Other than having to fully focus on their opponents on the court, the 2022 Commonwealth Games mixed doubles champions faced a different kind of gruelling battle as they grappled with the dismal conditions of their accommodations. In an interview with the Straits Times, the duo revealed that during their stay in India, there was a lack of a working water heater in their hotel room, encountered several blackouts, and Tan fell ill as he developed a severe sore throat, flu and a runny nose before the tournament in Assam.

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Tan and Hee were in India before the Guwahati Masters, as they participated in the Syed Modi International in Lucknow from Nov 28 to Dec 3. There were also unfavourable conditions during their stay in Lucknow. Tan mentioned in an Instagram story that during the court test, birds were flying around in the hall, birds dropping all over the courts, and the hall was slightly foggy due to what seemed like dust.

With such a series of unfortunate incidents, preparing for a tournament was never an ideal condition. However, the Singapore shuttlers did well in their opening two rounds of the Syed Modi International. They defeated Dhruv Kapila and Tanisha Crasto 21-16, 18-21, 21-18 in the opening match, In the Round of 16, Tan and Hee won 16-21, 21-17, 21-15 against Malaysians Yap Roy King and Valeree Siow. Their run in this competition ended in the quarter-final stage on Dec 1, falling 14-21,15-21 to Dejan Ferdinansyah and Gloria Widjaja from Indonesia who are ranked 14th in the world.

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From Lucknow, the duo travelled to Assam to participate in the Guwahati Masters from Dec 5-10. The Singapore national badminton players showed unwavering determination and composure as they won their first three matches in the tournament. In the semi-finals, they faced familiar opponents Kapila and Crasto, whom they met in Lucknow. It was a similar outcome as Hee and Tan won 21-18 and 21-15 to set up a final match against Vestergaard and Busch.

Guhawati Masters 2023 Results (Terry Hee and Jessica Tan) – Photo: Website screengrab / bwfbadminton.com

“Delighted to top the podium this time! With all the challenges we faced this week, this win definitely did not come easy & we cannot be more grateful for the victory. Tough conditions, tougher, God, thank you Lord for sustaining me throughout this tournament when I fell so terribly ill. Thank you everyone for your support & encouragement!” posted Hee and Tan on Instagram after the win.

This was the husband-and-wife team’s third mixed doubles final in 2023 and second title this year. Their first final was at the Abu Dhabi Masters on Oct 22, which they lost 22-10, 17-21, 18-21 to Vestergaard and Busch. Their second final and first season title came last month at the Irish Open, winning 21-17, 18-21, 21-15 against Gregory Mairs and Jenny Mairs.

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The Guwahati Masters is the husband-and-wife’s third mixed doubles final and second title this season. Their first final ended in defeat as they went down 22-10, 17-21, 18-21 to Vestergaard and Busch at the Abu Dhabi Masters in October. However, redemption came swiftly at the Irish Open last month, where they lifted their maiden trophy with a thrilling 21-17, 18-21, 21-15 victory over Gregory and Jenny Mairs.

They are currently participating in their third consecutive tournament in India, the Odisha Masters, from Dec 12-17. The duo won their opening match 21-13, 21-15 against Kuswanto and Sreeyuktha Parol from the United Arab Emirates. They next faced Nithin and Ridhi Toor in Round 16 on Dec 14.