Aaron-Wooi Yik plan CNY celebrations in Thailand this time

  • Badminton
  • Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020

Hungry for success: Second seeds Aaron Chia (right) and Soh Wooi Yik are hoping to live up to their billing in the Thailand Masters beginning today.

PETALING JAYA: Aaron Chia is someone who looks forward to Chinese New Year for the family reunion and gathering of friends in his home town of Melaka.

For once this year, the 22-year-old has to forgo the celebrations and shift his entire focus to the Thailand Masters, which gets under way at the Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok, today.

Aaron wants to make the sacrifice count.

“I think this is probably the first time I have had to compete in a tournament during Chinese New Year,” said Aaron. “Back when I was still a state player, I would still book the court to play for fun with my buddies. But I don’t ever remember competing during Chinese New Year.

“But it’s okay, there’s always a first time for everything. Being away from the family this week will serve as an extra motivation to do well in the tournament.”

Aaron and his partner Soh Wooi Yik, the world No. 9 and second seeds in the tournament, are almost certain to qualify for the quarter-finals which will be held on the all-important Chinese New Year eve when reunion dinners are held. The semi-finals will be on Chinese New Year and the final on the next day.

The pair will be hoping to take advantage of the absence of the top dogs in their bid to finally land a maiden World Tour title.

The top six pairs, including world No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and No. 2 Hendra Setiawan-Mohammad Ahsan, have opted out from the meet. The top seeds are Taiwan’s Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin.

Aaron-Wooi Yik are riding high on confidence after qualifying for the semi-finals of the Indonesian Masters last week where they lost to eventual winners Kevin-Marcus.

But they are taking nothing for granted.

“Obviously we are hoping to live up to the billing. We’re hungry for our first success on the World Tour as we came close twice previously (at last year’s All-England and SaarLorLux Open in 2018),” said Aaron.

“It doesn’t mean much to be seeded second. We still have to negotiate it round by round.

“Looking at at our draw, we have some interesting match-ups ahead.”

Aaron-Wooi Yik indeed have a tricky first round on their hands as they will be up against China’s Liu Cheng-Huang Kaixiang. Aaron-Wooi Yik lost to the world No. 24 the last time they met at the Thailand Open last year.

The other top contenders in the same half are compatriots and defending champions Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Denmark’s Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, China’s He Jiting-Tan Qiang and Taiwan’s Lu Ching-yao-Yang Po-han.

The other Malaysian shuttlers in the fray are men’s singles Lee Zii Jia, Liew Daren, Soong Joo Ven, Cheam June Wei and Soo Teck Zhi; Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzudin Rumsani and Nur Mohd Azryin Ayub-Low Juan Shen (men’s doubles; Soniia Cheah (women’s singles); Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean and Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen (women’s doubles); Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See (mixed doubles).

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