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Bronze medallists Aaron Chia of Malaysia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia during the medal ceremony at the Musashino Sport Plaza in Tokyo, July 31, 2021. — Reuters pic
Bronze medallists Aaron Chia of Malaysia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia during the medal ceremony at the Musashino Sport Plaza in Tokyo, July 31, 2021. — Reuters pic

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TOKYO, Aug 1 — National men’s doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik still have a long way to go despite winning the bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Saturday (July 31).

Men’s doubles head coach Flandy Limpele, who refused to get carried away by his charges’ success, said this was because the pair still have a lot of work to do if they are to achieve more success.

“Aaron-Wooi Yi are still young and have a bright prospect but they will have to buckle up and train harder, raise their performance on the court, including their power, speed and endurance, as these are the three aspects we found they are lacking in compared to the doubles pairs from Taiwan and China at the Tokyo Olympics,” he said at a virtual media conference today.

Aaron-Wooi Yik bounced back from a first-game defeat to capture the bronze by outlasting Indonesian second seeds Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 in a gripping 52-minute clash Saturday (July 31).

Commenting on their performance, the 47-year-old coach, who was proud of their achievement, said he knew they could win a medal when they gave an improved performance in the second game before dominating the third to sink the Indonesians.

Flandy, who also won an Olympic bronze medal for Indonesia partnering Eng Hian at the 2004 Athens edition, said he was optimistic that Aaron-Wooi Yik would be able to win a medal in Japan as the pair had undergone training and preparations that could only be described as extraordinary.

Meanwhile, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann said his wish now was to see the shuttlers reach greater heights in Paris 2024.

The three-time Olympian (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008), who admitted that he did fear they would return home empty-handed at one point, can now breathe easy after Aaron-Wooi Yik managed to fulfil BAM’s target to at least bring home a medal from the Tokyo Olympics.

Choong Hann also hopes to see Malaysia having two representatives each in every category, especially in men’s singles and doubles, for the 2024 Paris Games compared to only a single representative for each category in the Tokyo Olympics.

“We will definitely work harder as well as realign our targets and plans to move forward in the next three years,” he said.

He also believes that the current crop of shuttlers, led by 2021 All England champion Lee Zii Jia, have matured and stand a better chance of eventually winning the elusive Olympic gold. — Bernama

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