Key to winning our first Olympic gold lies with badminton doubles hopefuls

Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik

International badminton is as unpredictable as it is thrilling. Every match is a battle of skill, strategy, and sheer determination.

Top-ranked players can stumble unexpectedly, while underdogs rise to claim glory.

The just-concluded All-England Championship bore witness to this unpredictable nature. Top seeds in the men’s doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty of India, winners of the Asian Games and Badminton Asia Championship titles, were ousted in the second round.

Our women’s pair, Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah, upstaged China’s No. 1 pair, Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan, in the second round before losing in the quarterfinals.

Such is the present state of the fiercely competitive badminton arena.

Despite their valiant efforts, Malaysia’s Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik had a good run before losing 21-16, 21-16 to Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto in the final.

Despite the loss, Chia and Soh showcased their calibre and resilience, demonstrating the fighting spirit that fuels champions.

Their journey to the final serves as a testament to their potential to clinch victory on the grandest stage of all – the Olympic Games.

However, there are crucial areas where they must focus their efforts in the coming months to ensure they are in peak form, come Paris.

Firstly, they need to hone their physical fitness to perfection. With only four months remaining, every training session counts, as they strive to reach their peak performance level.

Recovery after gruelling matches will be paramount, ensuring they maintain their intensity throughout the tournament.

Equally vital is the development of mental fortitude and unwavering confidence. In the face of adversity, they must summon their inner strength, drawing inspiration from past triumphs, and learning from setbacks.

The guidance of team psychologist Frederick Tan will be invaluable in nurturing this fighting spirit.

Consistency in their performance is one thing players should strive for – can this be addressed so that our doubles pair can master it?

Strategic analysis of their opponents’ gameplay will also be instrumental in their quest for Olympic gold.

Studying the tactics of formidable pairs such as India’s Rankireddy and Shetty, South Korea’s Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae, and the reigning All-England champions from Indonesia, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto, will provide invaluable insights into their strengths and weaknesses.

While some factors may lie beyond our control, such as the luck of the draw, we must bolster our athletes with unwavering support and fervent prayers.

As Malaysians, we understand the importance of seizing every opportunity with unwavering determination – for in the badminton court, there is no room for half-hearted efforts.

Though Chia and Soh may have fallen short at the All-England, let us now channel our collective energy towards a greater ambition – the historic quest for Malaysia’s first Olympic gold.

Can they deliver the triumph we so ardently desire? With faith in their abilities and unity in our support, we believe they can.

Let us stand behind them, cheering their every step, as they strive to etch their names in the annals of Malaysian sporting glory.

Good luck to the pair – may their journey to Paris be paved with success and crowned with our first-ever Olympic gold!

The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.