PETALING JAYA: It’s hard to be at the top.
National doubles shuttler Aaron Chia admits he and partner Soh Wooi Yik are struggling to cope with the high level of expectations since they shot to the top but they are not giving up.
The duo made heads turn following their runner-up finish at the All-England in March, which saw them move up to the world No. 11 spot. They also took over the national No. 1 position from seniors Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong.
They however, have struggled to replicate their fiery form in the last three months, managing only two quarter-final finishes in five starts.
And their mediocre form has even drawn the ire of Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann.
The 22-year-old Aaron is taking the criticism in his stride.
“I admit that our results have not been good recently. We know that we have to buck up,” said Aaron.
“Wooi Yik and I have had our ups and downs since the All-England.
“We have raised the bar higher for ourselves by setting bigger goals but it’s kind of frustrating that we are not able to live up to the expectations.
“Nothing has changed despite having plenty of discussions with our coach Paulus (Firman).
“I think, it all boils down to the mind game. We’re not strong enough mentally and crumble under pressure easily. We fear of failing and couldn’t bring the best out of ourselves.”
The good news is that Aaron-Wooi Yik have five weeks to regain their momentum when they get back into action at the Indonesian Open from July 16-21.
Aaron stressed that they would make the most of their tournament break to fix their problems.
“We have to get through this during the break, otherwise we’re going to continue to struggle,” said Aaron. “We don’t have the luxury of time because the Tokyo Olympic qualification has started and it will be even tougher in the next six months.
“We will do all that we can to be more stable at the top.”
Aaron said they were still all fired up to fulfil two of their main goals for 2019 — break into the world’s top-eight standing and win their maiden title.
Last year, Aaron-Wooi Yik made promising rise to stardom when they came in second best at the SaarLorLux Open, Malaysian International Challenge and Vietnam International. They also finished runners-up at the Indian International in 2017.