KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria believed national players will ‘explode’ at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, which will take place from July 26 to August 11.

Despite the erratic performance at several World Tour tournaments, including the recent Malaysian Masters, Mohamad Norza said it was not a measure of the true performance of the country’s players.

In fact, the BAM chief who is also the president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) is confident the country’s players will reach their peak performance in Paris 2024.

“Let’s say they emerge champions at the Thailand Open, Singapore, do we want them to peak there? We want them to achieve the highest performance in Paris 2024. For them, it is the benefit of the doubt, and unwavering support.

“If they face difficult times, they need us... We will be with them, instead of saying ‘oh you are hopeless.’ These athletes have qualified on merit and have a high chance while some of them are already Olympians so they know what they will face,” he told reporters.

Mohamad Norza also emphasised that the rise and fall in performance that the national players are going through at the moment is a process they have to be gone through, and it is important to continue assisting in order to find a solution to be at the highest level of performance in Paris.

“The most important thing is that they have qualified on merit and are in the top 10 in the world. Especially Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik who are ranked in the top five in the world, we should give them our best support,” he added.

A total of five national representatives managed to qualify for Paris 2024, namely men’s singles player Lee Zii Jia, Goh Jin Wei (women’s singles) Aaron-Wooi Yik (men’s doubles), Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (women’s doubles) and Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei (mixed doubles).

On the World Tour Asia circuit that started with the Thailand Open on 14-19, Zii Jia emerged as the champion while other representatives of countries that qualified for the Olympics did not perform.

For the Malaysian Masters from May 21-26, Zii Jia lost to defending Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in the final, while Tang Jie-Ee Wei and Pearly-Thinaah advanced to the semi-finals, 2022 world champion Aaron-Wooi Yik was shown the way out in the quarter-finals, and Jin Wei was eliminated early in the second round.

It was followed by the Singapore Open from May 28 to June 2, which saw Zii Jia withdrawing due to injury, while Aaron-Wooi Yik and Tang Jie-Ee Wei reached the quarter-finals, but Pearly-Thinaah and Jin Wei were stranded as early as the first round.

In the Indonesia Open which is taking place this week, only Zii Jia and Pearly-Thinaah managed to step into the quarter-finals scheduled for today, while Tang Jie-Ee Wei and Aaron-Wooi Yik were eliminated in the first and second rounds respectively. — Bernama