PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian badminton team are sticking to their target although a challenging draw has been unveiled for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
National coaching director Wong Choong Hann believes they still stand a chance for glory in the men’s singles (Lee Zii Jia), men’s doubles (Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik) and mixed doubles (Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu YIng).
The other representatives are Soniia Cheah (women’s singles) and Lee Meng Yean-Chow Mei Kuan (women’s doubles).
“It’s a fair draw. It’s what it is. We are not losing sleep over it or getting too excited about it. Our expectation is solely based on our team’s preparation,” said Choong Hann.
“And so far, our team have prepared the best. They’ve got the support from different sectors - the coaching, sports science and etc. They have been provided with data to enhance their performance.”
Barring any upset, Zii Jia may meet defending champion Chen Long of China in the last 16.
In the doubles, only the top two pairs will advance to the quarter-finals and Aaron-Wooi Yik have the company of former world champion Hendra Setiawan-Mohammed Ahsan (Ina), Choi Sol-gyu-Seo Seung-jae (Kor) and Joshua Anthony Ho-Shue-Nyl Yakura (Can) while Peng Soon-Liu Ying have tough opponents too - Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn), Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich (Ger), Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg).
“We have told our players to treat every opponent with respect but remain as determined to make a difference.”
Malaysia have failed to win a gold medal since the sport was introduced at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games while others like China, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Denmark and even Spain have continued to hit the jackpot.
Malaysia came very close at the last Games when Lee Chong Wei, Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem, Peng Soon-Liu Ying reached the finals of their respective events but all of them had to settle for silvers. It was one of the best Malaysian outings to date in the Olympics.
“We can’t change history but we can make one. Our players are motivated. They’ve a good chance to write a new chapter in the history book... and we will support them all the way to achieve this,” added Choong Hann.