Small, but still with Olympics chance

PETALING JAYA: It’s not about numbers but quality for badminton at the Olympic Games.

Former world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik will lead a small eight-member squad for the Paris Olympic Games as others are not expected to qualify with just one month left before the qualifying period ends.

Aaron-Wooi Yik will be the sole representatives in the men’s doubles after professionals Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi missed the boat in the last leg of qualification.

The other representatives are Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles) and Goh Jin Wei (women’s singles), Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (women’s doubles) and Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei (mixed doubles).

It will be the third straight edition that Malaysia will have eight representatives in the Olympics.

Malaysia had also filled up one quota each in every event - at the last editions in 2020 Tokyo and 2016 Rio de Janeiro.

Aaron-Wooi Yik won the country’s sole bronze in Tokyo while Malaysia enjoyed their best harvest in Rio when Lee Chong Wei, Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying reached the finals of the men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles respectively before settling for silvers.

Malaysia had the biggest qualifiers of nine players in 2004 Athens Games but fired blanks and had one of the smallest numbers of six in the 2000 Sydney Games and also returned home empty-handed.

Both the 2000 and 2004 editions were the country’s worst outings.

When badminton was introduced as a sport in 1992 Barcelona, Malaysia won the first bronze medal through Razif Sidek-Jalani Sidek. They did better in the 1996 edition in Atlanta when Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock took a silver (doubles) while Rashid Sidek won a bronze (singles). In the 2008 Beijing Games, Chong Wei won his first of his three Olympics silver, making him one of the most successful Olympians. He also won in 2012 London and 2016 Rio.

Hope is high on Aaron-Wooi Yik and Co to keep the Malaysian flag flying high in Paris – and try to end the gold-medal drought.

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Badminton , Olympic Games , Lee Zii Jia


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