Soh Wooi Yik likened the upcoming Sudirman and Thomas/Uber Cup to the Olympics, highlighting the importance of being mentally present as the national contingent prepare for their first test on Monday.
Malaysia face England in their Sudirman Cup Group D opener, and victory would go a long way to making it out of the group which also contains Japan and Egypt.
Monday! Excited.— Nicholas John (@pluralpictures) September 23, 2021
Let's support our ?? shuttlers at the Sudirman Cup!
We have @gohliuying @roslinhashim75 @tanboonheong3 @ShevonLai Koo Kien Keat and Hafiz Hashim to teman you on TV - jom ?@stadiumastro @ASTROARENA pic.twitter.com/9sIWCFIcaI
While the national team are expected to reach the quarter-finals, Soh sent out a timely reminder to his team-mates.
“Team events are like the Olympics. Mentally we must be prepared. As seniors, myself, Aaron [Chia] and [Lee] Zii Jia will look to shoulder some of this pressure. But we are not burdening ourselves with our opponents.
"Even Japan are not sending a full team, and plus we have also beaten them in a team event recently. We take great encouragement from that," said Soh.
The Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist was reflecting on the national team’s victory against Japan which came at the 2020 Asia Team Championships semi-finals.
Malaysia won that tie comprehensively 3-0 courtesy of Lee, Chia-Soh and Cheam June Wei who triumphed in the first three games.
The Japanese are slightly depleted following the retirement of Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda, but are still formidable with the likes of Kento Momota, Nozomi Okuhara and Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi in their ranks.
“I think this Sudirman Cup is the best event to test out the quality of the young shuttlers. Many teams are sending a young team, including us. Me and Chia have not played Takuro-Yugo in some time, so it will be good to see how they fare,” he said.
This year's Sudirman Cup is missing some star participation including China’s Chen Long, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-ying and Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin, India’s P.V.Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon.
The national team took part in their first training session in Vantaa on Thursday.