PETALING JAYA: A challenging draw for the Olympic Games has not doused the fire in doubles shuttler Soh Wooi Yik.
In fact, an excited Wooi Yik and his partner Aaron Chia are ready to give their opponents in Group D a worthy fight in their first Olympics in Tokyo from July 23-Aug 8.
They are lumped together with Indonesian old-hands Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan, South Korea’s Choi Sol-gyu-Seo Seung-jae and Joshua Anthony Ho-Shue-Nyl Yakura.
Only the top two pairs will make it to the top-eight knockout stage. They should win against the Canadians but the matches against the other two pairs could go either way.
Wooi Yik said the key to their confidence was the fact that they had beaten their opponents before.
“We’ve an equal chance here. We have met these opponents before and there have been mixed outcomes,” said Wooi Yik.
In fact, in the World Tour Finals in Thailand in January, Aaron-Wooi Yik were drawn in the same group with the Indonesians and Koreans too. They defeated Sol-gyu-Seung-jae in straight games but went down to former world champions Ahsan-Hendra.
The 2019 All-England runners-up, who train under head coach Flandi Limpele, have played the Indonesians seven times and won once at the 2019 China Open. They have a record of 2-2 against the fast-attacking Koreans.
“The Koreans are strong on the counterattack and solid in defence too. They are consistent with their shots and we know it will not be easy against them,” said Wooi Yik.
“Of course, the statistics favour the Indonesians. But the point is, we have beaten them once.
“Our coach Flandi is there to guide us and will surely give us pointers against Ahsan-Hendra and the other players. We have been getting the full backing and support.
“The most important thing is to be sure of our own game plan and play confidently on court. It depends on us really.
“Right now, rather than being nervous, we are more excited and looking forward to giving a good show in our first Olympics.”
The favourites are Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon of Indonesia but they are in a tricky Group A with three pairs, who have played top-notch badminton in recent times - Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe), Ben Lane-Sean Vendy (Eng) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind).
Lee Yang-Chi-lin are the strongest based on their triple title feat this year, where they dominated the first three tournaments in Thailand this year. They won the two Opens and the World Tour Finals.
There are also equally strong pairs from Japan and China – making this edition’s men’s doubles battle a mouth-watering affair. Group A: Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (Ina), Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe), Ben Lane-Sean Vendy (Eng), Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Ind). Group B: Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Jpn), Anders Skaarup Rasmussen-Kim Astrup (Den) Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov (Rus), Godwin Olofua-Anuoluwapo Juwon Opeyori (Ngr). Group C: Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn), Keigo Sonoda-Takeshi Kamura (Jpn), Mark Lamsfuss-Marvin Seidel (Ger), Phillip Chew-Ryan Chew (US). Group D: Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina), Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas), Choi Sol-gyu-Seo Seung-jae (Kor), Joshua Anthony Ho-Shue-Nyl Yakura (Can).
MEN’S DOUBLES DRAW