The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are determined to close the gap on dominant forces as quickly as possible after clinching the country’s first Tokyo Olympics medal through Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik.
The national men’s doubles heroics against world number two Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan ensured badminton continued to deliver medals for Malaysia at the Olympics.
“This is not the final destination, but it is a milestone to reach greater heights. We have built from scratch since 2016 with this young team. The gap against other countries is still there, but we are closing in.
“We are not at that level yet, we might not have created that fear yet, but I want them to know we are closing in fast,” said national coaching director Wong Choong Hann.
Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying were the only remaining pair from the 2016 edition in Rio, with the national body not only seeing an overhaul of their elite shuttlers from the last edition, but also from the coaching and management setup.
Soh explained the pair’s journey began when former national technical director Morten Frost saw his potential as a doubles shuttler.
“I started out as a singles shuttler until Morten Frost saw my potential in doubles and made that change. I left the national team for a while before returning and reuniting with Aaron,” he said, adding that the pair set their sights on other major championships this year.
“We are now more matured as a pair, and it is important that we believe in ourselves after this. There are other big tournaments like the Sudirman and Thomas Cup coming up this year. We are also aiming to get a medal at the World Championships.”
Men’s doubles chief Flandy Limpele, who took charge of the team last July, was proud of his charges’ efforts.
“They were outstanding against Ahsan-Hendra. I knew they had it in them to win that third game as they were younger compared to their opponents and had the spirit to mount a fightback. They definitely have a bright future ahead of them,” he said.
The world number nine duo had a decent year to date, finishing as runners-up at the Thailand Open 2 in January before reaching the semis of the Swiss Open in March.
They have. however. yet to win a title on the BWF World Tour.