With Lee Zii Jia and Soong Joo Ven tasked to carry the nation’s challenge in the individual competition, both the 19-year-olds will compete in the team event.
But there is also a chance they might not even start as the seniors are likely to fill up the first-two slots.
The team event is played on a knockout format and it is unlikely the Badminton Association of Malaysia would take the risk even against minnows the Philippines in the opening hurdle.
Malaysia can count themselves lucky to avoid Thailand in the semi-finals, but their likely opponents Singapore, led by Thailand Masters champion Loh Kean Yew are just as threatening.
And Aidil and Chong King have to prove their worth for the third singles berth.
The lads, when met a training session yesterday, have vowed not to be mere spectators in their debut.
“I definitely want a piece of the action. As this is my first SEA Games, I hope it would be a memorable one,” said the world No. 206 Aidil.
“At the moment, Chong King has the edge as he has better tournament results.
“He pipped me to the Hellas Open title (in Greece, August) and then made the final in Australia (Sydney International) last month.
“I aim to reach at least the semi-finals in my next tournaments – the Indonesian International Challenge (Oct 22-27) and Malaysian International Challenge (Nov 12-17) – to give myself a shot at claiming the spot.”
World No. 211 Chong King concurred saying that their performance in the next one-and-a-half months is going to be crucial to convince the selectors.
“We have an equal chance to be picked. While it’s important for us to do well in our upcoming assignments, I still think it all boils down to our conditions at the Games,” said Chong King.
“Whoever gets picked must be prepared mentally and be up for the challenge. The pressure is going to be high as the fate of your team is in your hands.”
Malaysia are looking good to reach the final where a clash against favourites Indonesia is on the cards.
Despite resting their top players including world No. 8 singles Anthony Ginting and the world’s top-two doubles pairs Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Hendra Setiawan-Muhammad Ahsan, it will take a monumental effort to beat the 16-time winners.
Indonesia have lined up Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie, Shesar Hiren Rhustavito and Firman Abdul Kholik in the singles and Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto, Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankaryanira-Ade Yusuf Santoso and Leo Rolly Carnando in the doubles.
At the Kuala Lumpur Games two years ago, Malaysia lost 0-3 to Indonesia in the final.
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