SPORTS

PARIS 2024: CAN MEN'S DOUBLES PAIR AGAIN BRING CHEERS TO MALAYSIA?

25/06/2024 01:45 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) -- The men's doubles event can be considered a 'lucky charm' for Malaysia, having opened the country's Olympics medal account when siblings Datuk Razif Sidek-Datuk Seri Jalani Sidek won bronze as badminton was contested for the first time at the Barcelona 1992 edition.

The men's doubles also contributed the country's first silver medal through Datuk Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock at the Atlanta 1996 edition, in addition to silver from Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong at Rio 2016 and bronze from Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik at Tokyo 2020.

Can the men's doubles once again make history by contributing Malaysia's first-ever gold in Paris when the world's biggest event takes place from July 26 to Aug 11 this year?

Gold has eluded Malaysia since the country's inaugural participation in the Melbourne 1956 Olympics, and Aaron-Wooi Yik will have to deal with the added pressure of being a gold medal prospect this time around.

The pair also holds the distinction of being Malaysia's only badminton world champions so far but Wooi Yik said they are not worried about the high expectations placed on their shoulders.

“Of course, we have to be confident with our targets. We don't always say it, but in our hearts, we do want gold. So, we have to work hard to achieve it and not put too much pressure on ourselves.

“We have to understand that all players in men's doubles also have good chances, so we just want to do our best for this Olympics. We don't want to carry a big burden, just enjoy the Olympics,” he said when met recently.

Aaron agreed with him, saying the men's doubles competition is very open and believes that their extra night training sessions can give them the edge.

The pair had a chance to play at the Olympics venue, La Chapelle Arena, during the French Open last March, and Aaron said they are wary of the challenge posed by several top pairs in the world.

Their main challengers include world number one and Hangzhou Asian Games champions Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang of China, who have beaten Aaron-Wooi Yik in six of their eight meetings. The China pair also won two Super 1000 tour titles this year - the Malaysia Open and Indonesia Open.

Aaron-Wooi Yik, ranked fifth in the world, also need to find an answer to the aggressive play and powerful smashes of India's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Shirag Chetty.

Although the head-to-head record stands at 8-3 in favour of the Malaysian pair, Aaron-Wooi Yik lost in their last three meetings against the Indians, including at the Asian Games semi-finals in September last year.

Another pair that can shatter Aaron-Wooi Yik's dream is world number four Kang Min Hyuk-Seo Seung Jae of South Korea, who lifted both the World Championship and BWF Word Tour Finals titles in 2023.

Aaron-Wooi Yik have beaten the Koreans only once in four meetings.

 

Profile: 

 

Aaron Chia

Age: 27

Hometown: Batu Berendam, Melaka

Started playing badminton at four years old

Height: 168cm

 

Soh Wooi Yik

Age: 26

Hometown: Kuala Lumpur

Started playing badminton at four years old

Height: 185cm

 

As a pair

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Current ranking: world number five

Highest ranking: world number two (Nov 2023)

 

Olympics appearance: Second time

 

Achievements: 

  1. 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze
  2. 2022 World Championship gold in Tokyo
  3. 2023 World Championship bronze in Copenhagen
  4. 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games bronze in China
  5. 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze in England
  6. 2023 Denmark Open champions in Odense

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