TOKYO, Aug 1 — The country’s top men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik’s success in winning a bronze medal, Malaysia’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics last night, came at just the right time as the nation faces a challenging period battling Covid-19, said Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria.
He said the excellent achievement by the young pair in the bronze medal match at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza was welcomed with joy by Malaysians and could not have come at a better time.
“We had always asked when Aaron-Wooi Yik would rise to the occasion and I think they did so at the time we all needed.
“I wish to congratulate them because at a young age they can bring joy to all of us and thank Malaysians, especially badminton fans, who prayed for our success,” he said in a video shared to the media.
Aaron-Wooi Yik bounced back after losing the first set to grab the bronze when they beat second-seeded Indonesian pair Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan, 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 in a match that lasted almost an hour yesterday.
Mohamad Norza said the move to bring in Flandy Limpele as the new head coach for the men’s doubles during the restructuring of the coaching staff in May 2020 paid off as Aaron-Wooi Yik not only won the bronze, but also managed to beat world number one pair, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, also from Indonesia. 21-14, 21-17 in the quarterfinals last Thursday.
Mohamad Norza, who is also Olympic Council of Malaysia president, also stated that BAM will do a ‘post-mortem’ regarding the achievements of the badminton players in Japan, including the impact of the coaching staff after this.
At the same time, he hopes that Malaysians continue to support and be patient with BAM’s plan in producing competent players with the potential to bring Malaysia’s challenge to the highest level in the future, including the Thomas Cup, Uber Cup and the next Olympic edition, Paris 2024.
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican urged Malaysians to continue to pray for the success of Malaysian athletes in the Olympics to realise the target of bringing home three medals as he had announced last month.
He said Malaysians need to be behind the athletes at all times no matter whether when they enjoy success or when they fail in the struggle to bring up Malaysia’s name on the world stage.
“Don’t stop, support and accompany them with prayers until the last moment. If they (athletes) do not reach their targets they are criticised. When we are disappointed they are more disappointed, when they win we applaud. I ask Malaysians not to be picky in the support given to our athletes,” he added. — Bernama