THEY have a proven record in major events and this will still make men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik as Malaysia’s best bets for a medal in the Asian Games although they have a testing draw in the individual events starting today at the Binjiang Gymnasium today.
Aaron-Wooi Yik, the world No. 5, will play the dangerous Lu Ching-yau-Yang Po-han of Taiwan in the first round and are likely to play Liu Yuchen-Ou Xuanyi of China or world champions Kang Ming-hyuk-Seo Seung Jae of South Korea in the last eight based on the draw released yesterday.
The Malaysians won bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and this was followed by a maiden world title at the same venue last year and they also won another bronze medal in this year’s World Championships in Copenhagen in August.
Independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi face rejuvenated Olympic champions Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin of Taiwan in their first round clash.
National director of coaching Rexy Mainaky has cautioned Aaron-Wooi Yik to ease their mind from unnecessary worries.
“Aaron-Wooi Yik should be geared up from the first round as they have a few tough opponents to reach the semi-finals. If they can survive, medal is in their hands,” said Rexy.
“They must be ready against the Taiwan pair who beat them in their last meeting.
Women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah have an easier passage to the last eight where they are expected to take on world No. 2 Baek Ha-na-Lee So Hee of South Korea.
Debutants Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei and independent pair Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie will also have uphill tasks as both pairs are looking at a face-off against top China combinations Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong and Feng Yanzhe-Huang Dongping in a possible last eight encounters.
“Tang Jie-Ee Wei’s passage looks tough but they have to look at reaching the last eight first,” said Rexy.
Meanwhile, danger lurks for both Lee Zii Jia and Ng Tze Yong as they are up against formidable opponents in the first round.
Independent shuttler Zii Jia will be up against Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong, the player who beat the Malaysian in the first round of the Korean Open in July.
Tze Yong will play 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore but the Malaysian will be going into the match with a positive mindset having beaten his opponent twice in three meetings.