Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik vowed to work even harder after delivering the country’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics when they beat Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 to win bronze on Saturday.
The world number nine pair entered the bronze medal match as underdogs against the Indonesians whom they had only beaten once on seven occasions prior, but turned the tables when it mattered most.
It completed a remarkable run for the young Malaysians, who had also dumped out world number one pair Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Gideon Fernaldi to enter the semi-finals.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone for their full support. We are sorry for not winning gold/silver medal for our country, but we are really happy to have achieved this today.
“Thanks to my family for always supporting me and never giving up on me. We promise to work even harder for our careers to achieve better results. Thank you everyone,” said Chia on Instagram.
Soh also echoed his partner’s sentiment, adding “I was absolutely thrilled because we managed to overcome the pressure and we never gave up. This is the best moment of my career after making some mistakes previously.
“But this is not over, we will continue fighting,” said Soh, who couldn’t hold back tears of joy after winning.
Victory also avenged the group stage defeat to Ahsan-Hendra, and went some way to banishing the agony of losing at the 2019 All-England final to the same pair.
Chia-Soh also delivered badminton’s ninth medal for the national contingent at the Olympics.
After the Sidek brothers (Razif-Jalani) won the country’s first bronze at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock followed suit with a silver at the 1996 edition in Atlanta.
Rashid Sidek took home bronze in the same edition in the men’s singles.
Lee Chong Wei began a new era for the country when he won his first silver in 2008 in Beijing, and bagged the same colour at the next two editions in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying also delivered silver at the Rio Games.
Badminton remains the most successful sport for Malaysia at sporting’s grandest stage, followed by diving (one silver, one bronze) and cycling (one bronze).(Photo: asiana.my)