The final Thai test

Pair to watch: Aaron Chia (right) and Soh Wooi Yik will do well in the World Tour Finals, says Malaysia’s coaching director Wong Choong Hann.

PETALING JAYA: It’s not quantity but quality that matters for Malaysia in the World Tour Finals this week.

Surprisingly, Malaysia will head into the final week of the World Tour tournament bubble in Bangkok with the highest number of representatives – a total of six in four events.

The qualifiers for the season-ending World Tour Finals are Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles); Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (men’s doubles); Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean, Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen (women’s doubles); and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (mixed doubles).

They have one more than Indonesia and South Korea as the second most-represented nations in the Finals, where only the top eight players will get to compete in every event.

The absence of Japan and China in Thailand, has enabled players like Vivian-Cheng Wen and Soon Huat-Shevon to sneak in.

Despite having a big team, the onus is on the players to translate it into good results.

Malaysia came close to a victory twice in the last two weeks with Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Aaron-Wooi Yik emerging as the runners-up of the Yonex Thailand Open and Toyota Thailand Open respectively.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann has called on his charges to end their campaign in Thailand with respectable showings, especially world No. 9 Aaron-Wooi Yik.

“If Aaron-Wooi Yik can make it to the semis, it’s anybody’s game from then on, ” said Choong Hann.

“Last week, we saw a fitter Aaron moving a lot faster along with great aggression and anticipation.

“Both have improved and showed they can perform to their best without thinking too much about the expectation.

“It’s just that in the final, they lost to a better pair.

“The Taiwanese totally outmuscled them with their strength and powerful play, and we must admit Aaron-Wooi Yik were not on par with them.

At the last Finals, Aaron-Wooi Yik did not go beyond the group stage in their debut in Guangzhou in 2019.

As for Zii Jia, Choong Hann thinks it would be tough for the ‘demoralised’ shuttler to pull off anything spectacular in his Finals debut.

“We won’t be expecting Zii Jia to come back strongly just days after losing in that way (he squandered a healthy lead before losing to India’s Sameer Verma), ” said Choong Hann.

“But the least he can do is to regroup and make this third tournament count. He has nothing to lose, and we hope to see him regain his rhythm. He just need to believe in himself, ” added Choong Hann, who will be hoping for the draw that will done today to be favourable for the Malaysians.

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