They can be smashing too


Potential champs: Aaron Chia (right) and Soh Wooi Yik have good first-three shots but they need consistency to succeed, says former international Goh V Shem.

PETALING JAYA: Shuttlers Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem have faith that youngsters Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik will replicate their silver-medal feat at the Tokyo Olympics next month.

World No. 13 Wee Kiong-V Shem, both 32, smashed their way to the medal in their Olympics debut in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, but this year they failed to make the cut.

The duo, who were in the running to earn their Games’ tickets, saw their hopes go up in smoke when the last four Olympics qualifiers were scrapped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, all is not lost as they believe Games’ debutants Aaron-Wooi Yik have the pedigree to strike it right.

The world No. 9, who are the 2019 All-England runners-up, are one of the eight Malaysian shuttlers who have confirmed their tickets. The others are Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles), Soniia Cheah (women’s singles), Lee Meng Yean-Chow Mei Kuan (women’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles).

“They are young and have huge potential. Just like us in 2016, anything can happen. I hope they will enjoy the experience, ” said Wee Kiong, who became a household name after their surprise feat although they could have won the gold after losing 21-16,11-21,21-23 to Fu Haifeng-Zhang Nan of China in the final.

“I remember our outing in Rio. The situation was quite bad – the food, the accommodation and others but the team took everything in a positive way. We always found ways to focus in training and during competition.

“And we had a good leader that time – Datuk Lee Chong Wei. He was the most experienced among the lot and I believe, this time, Peng Soon and Liu Ying can offer that leadership.”

V Shem also believes Aaron-Wooi Yik will shine.

“They have very good first-three shots, all they need is consistency. It’s my hope that they will bring back a medal, ” said V Shem.

On their future, V Shem said they are still unsure.

“Our contract with Yonex ends next month and we are waiting to see whether they will continue the sponsorship. Besides, there are no tournaments, ” said V Shem.

Meanwhile, Wee Kiong is contemplating playing in the mixed doubles with Vivian Hoo.

“There has been discussion with Vivian but we are only able to move forward if there are sponsors. I will also have to discuss with V Shem on our future.

“For now, due to the current situation, we just have to wait.”

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