PETALING JAYA: Underdog status suits men’s doubles shuttler Aaron Chia just fine.
Malaysia will not be seeded in the men’s team event in the Asian Games in Hangzhou but Aaron sees this as a plus point rather than a disadvantage.
“Sometimes it’s better to be unseeded,” said Aaron, who is set to compete in the individual event with partner Soh Wooi Yik too.
“As underdogs, others will not see us as threats. This gives us the opportunity to spring a surprise.”
Indonesia and defending champions are the top two seeds while Japan and India are seeded third and fourth respectively.
As the unseeded team, Malaysia could be drawn to face any of the seeded countries as early as the first knockout round.
In the last edition in Jakarta in 2018, the team were drawn against Japan in the first round and were eliminated after a tame 0-3 loss.
Aaron believes that the current team have the capabilities to do better.
“There are many first timers in the team this time like me and Wooi Yik but we also have experienced players like Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi (men’s doubles), Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles) and Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Lai Jemie (mixed doubles),” said Aaron.
“We’ve been getting advice from Yew Sin and Ee Yi on what it was like to play in the Asiad and this will be beneficial for us.”
In the individual event, Aaron is also keen to adopt a low-key approach.
“It’s better for us not to put too much expectations on ourselves,” said the 26-year-old.
“Yes, we have our own target but sometimes when we expect too much, we tend to not do well.”
Meanwhile, Wooi Yik has recovered fully from high fever and joined Aaron during the centralised training at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) yesterday.
The 25-year-old was ill on the eve of the China Open final last week and went down 12-21, 14-21 along with Aaron to home favourites Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang in the title match.
Aaron-Wooi Yik then were forced to pull out of the recent Hong Kong Open as the latter had not regained full fitness.
“Wooi Yik started training a bit during the Hong Kong Open and has now started going all out,” said Aaron.
“There’s not much time for us to prepare for the Asiad, so we want to maximise what we have.”