PETALING JAYA: National men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik have been given the lead role in the Sudirman Cup in Nanning, China, from May 19-26 – but the duo are not sweating.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) took a gamble by leaving out Rio Olympic silver medalists Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong to pave the way for the youngsters to bear the heavy responsibility as the top pair in a major team event for the first time.
The All-England runners-up will be joined by Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Nur Izzuddin Rumsani for the World Mixed Team Championships.
The national No. 2 pair lost to former world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia in the final of the All-England last month but that strong showing has given them much needed confidence.
Wooi Yik and Aaron are proud to be the flagship as the top pair in the Sudirman Cup.
“This is a huge honour and responsibility to represent our country as the top pair,” said Wooi Yik.
“But this is a team event and it’s all about team spirit, so we must prepare ourselves mentally and remember that everything we do is as a team.”
BAM’s coaching director Wong Choong Hann believes it would be a good experience for the world No. 15 pair.
“This is a platform for them to learn how to handle high expectations and manage stress,” said Choong Hann.
“They are tasked with getting good results as part of the team and I believe they will take the initiative to gain and learn from this outing.”
Yesterday, Aaron-Wooi Yik continued to show their prowess as the country’s future world-beaters when they advanced into the quarter-final of the Badminton Asian Championships in Wuhan, China.
They defeated Thai pair Kittinupong Kedren-Dechapol Puavaranukroh 21-15, 19-21, 21-17 in the first round yesterday and received a walkover from Ahsan-Setiawan in the second round.
“We played well in the first game against the Thais but they broke our rhythm in the second game and we made several errors,” said Wooi Yik.
“It was tough in the third but we kept our cool. We managed to put pressure on them and played well tactically to win.”
They face the winners of the match between former world champions Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan of China and South Korea’s Min Hyuk-kang-Kim Won-ho in the last eight.
Also through to the second round are Yew Sin-Ee Yi, who easily dismissed Lin Shang-kai-Tseng Min-hao of Taiwan 21-12, 21-12 while independent pair Arif Abdul Latif-Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub also had no problems defeating Thailand’s Inkarat Apisuk-Tanupat Viriyangkura 21-14, 21-10.
Only national No. 1 pair V Shem-Wee Kiong failed to advance when they lost 15-21, 21-11, 8-21 to Taiwan’s Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han in the first round.