KUALA LUMPUR: Chico Aura will be in a titanic battle against a few senior Indonesian compatriots in the race to the Olympics but he believes his chances of making it to Paris 2024 is as good as anyone’s.
World No. 2 Anthony Ginting and Jonathan Christie, the No. 6, are in the drivers’ seat to claim the two seats but Chico, the defending Malaysia Masters champion, declared that the battle has just started.
Chico, the world No 18, has not won a title since his victory at last year’s Masters but he did well to reach the final of the Indonesian Masters in January.
“Indonesia has a few players who can qualify although our top two (Ginting and Jonatan) are way ahead in the world ranking. But I feel I have an equal chance to fight for an Olympic spot,” said Chico.
“The Olympic qualifying period has just started and we have a long way to go. It is too early to predict who will make it.
“I know I have the chance like the other players as long as I can improve on my results.
“However, it is going to get tougher and the Malaysian Masters itself is not going to be easy from the beginning.
“As the defending champion, I don’t want to get unstuck in the first round and want to clear that first although I will play a tough Taiwan opponent in the first round.”
Shesar Hiren, the world No. 31, and newly crowned SEA Games champion Christian Adinata, are the other shuttlers who could be challenging for place in the Olympics where a country is allowed a maximum of two players provided they are in the top 16 at the end of the qualifying period next year.
Chico also has a fight in his hands in the Malaysian Masters title defence.
His first round opponent is world No. 26 Lin Chun-yi, who won the Thailand Masters in January and could trouble the Indonesian shuttlers.
These are the matches Chico need to negotiate with care if he wishes to be battling for an Olympic spot when the qualifying period ends at the end of April next year.