KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — The coaching director of Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM), Rexy Mainaky expects 2022 men’s doubles world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to start to feel the heat once they check into the Games Village for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris from July 26-Aug 11.

With badminton scheduled to be held from July 27 to August 5 at the Porte de la Chapelle Arena, Rexy said that once they see athletes from other countries starting to win gold medals at the world’s biggest multi-sports Games, that’s when the pressure will hit them.

“Right now, Aaron-Wooi Yik are not really feeling the pressure, but they will surely feel it at the athletes’ village, where all the world-class athletes will be based.

“When they are there and they see other athletes have won the gold medal, they will start to think ‘when will it be our turn’ and that will make them anxious to get started. The tension doesn’t come from the outside, but it’s there (at the Games Village) that they will start to feel the heat,” he said after a training session yesterday.

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As such, Rexy, who won the 1996 Atlanta Olympics men’s doubles gold medal with Ricky Subagja, is confident that Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) psychologist Frederick Tan has a crucial role to play in helping the world number four pair handle the pressure in Paris.

Last December, 2024 Paris Olympics chef de mission Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin named Aaron-Wooi Yik and track cycling ace Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang as Malaysia’s best bets to win the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal.

Azizulhasni, nicknamed The Pocket Rocketman, had recently stated his determination to deliver Malaysia’s first-ever Olympic gold medal when he makes his fifth and final Olympic appearance at Paris 2024.

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Meanwhile, Rexy, who is happy with the performance of Aaron-Wooi Yik thus far, reminded the 2020 Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists not to be too excited and to continue focusing on improving their performance ahead of Paris 2024. — Bernama