The men’s doubles pair of Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik are set to be the busiest Malaysian shuttlers over the next two months with a whopping five back-to-back tournaments lined up for them, starting with the German Open from March 3-8.
The world No. 8, who will also be competing in the All-England (March 11-15) where they finished runners-up last year, have been handed three extra assignments – Swiss Open (March 17-22), Indian Open (March 24-29) and Malaysian Open (March 31-April 5).
That makes it six tournaments in seven weeks, as the SEA Games champions had also played in last week’s Spain Masters where they made it to the semi-finals.
The move clearly shows Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are leaving no stones unturned to ensure Aaron-Wooi Yik book their ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.
Aaron-Wooi Yik are still not certain of qualifying as they currently sit ninth in the Race to Tokyo standings, which is different from the world rankings.
Mathematically, they can still be caught by 13th-placed compatriots Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong.
Only the top 16 pairs will qualify for the Tokyo Games, with a maximum of two pairs from the same country provided both are in top eight on April 30.
BAM coaching director Wong Choong Hann said Aaron-Wooi Yik have been entered for a series of tournaments as a “precautionary” measure.
“If they are in the top six, then we wouldn’t need to send them to so many tournaments, ” said Choong Hann.
“We cannot anticipate what’s going to happen over the next couple of months, so this is just precautionary step.
“They may not necessarily play in all the tournaments they are entered in. If they perform well in the next three tournaments in Europe, then they can skip one and take a breather. Playing in too many tournaments will take its toll on a player’s body and we certainly don’t encourage that.”
Aaron-Wooi Yik have a good chance to race away from V Shem-Wee Kiong as the latter will not be part of the German Open and All-England after they missed the entry deadline.
Choong Hann also hopes that Aaron-Wooi Yik will make the most of the opportunities given to them, after they squandered a good chance of lifting their maiden World Tour title in Barcelona last week.
“They have been playing consistently in the last one year and it’s about time they earned a breakthrough, ” said Choong Hann.
“They had their chances previously including last week in Spain. It was a tournament they are capable of winning.
“In the coming tournaments, I hope to see them start beating the world’s top five on a regular basis. They must overcome these hurdles if they are to become tournament winners.
“They showed they can do it by scoring upset wins against Hendra (Setiawan)-(Mohammad) Ahsan last year. I don’t see why they can’t pull that off again.”