TOKYO (July 31): The wait is finally over.
National men’s doubles shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bagged the bronze for Malaysia’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics after more than a week since the Games officially opened on July 23.
Aaron-Wooi Yik took 52 minutes to edge Indonesians Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan 17-21, 21-17, 21-14 in the bronze medal match at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, here, today.
The first game was closely fought as both pairs battled neck-and-neck before Aaron-Wooi Yik took an 11-9 lead at the interval.
When the game resumed, the Indonesians produced a more aggressive display to regain the lead at 12-9 and maintained their domination to eventually seal a 21-17 win.
In the second game, Aaron-Wooi Yik started brightly to take a 5-3 lead before mistakes began creeping into their game to allow their opponents to take an 11-7 lead at the interval.
Aaron-Wooi Yik, to their credit, did not give up easily and managed to level the score at 12-12.
From that moment on, they never trailed the Indonesians as they continued their fine display to romp home 21-17 and drag the game into a winner-takes-all decider.
In the rubber game, the young Malaysian pair, with an extra spring in their steps, never trailed the Indonesians from the moment they went 1-0 up.
After leading 11-7 at the interval, they allowed the Indonesians just seven more points before sealing a 21-14 win courtesy of a smash by Aaron.
Aaron and Wooi Yik, overcome by emotions, sank to their knees screaming in delight before lying flat on the court trying to comprehend what they had just achieved.
The pair also shed tears of joy as they got off the court.
Surely they were not the only ones as all Malaysians too must be celebrating the country’s first medal of the Tokyo Olympics and praying that this is the beginning of more to come from the national contingent.
For 2019 SEA Games gold medallists Aaron-Wooi Yik also, this win is sweet revenge for their 16-21, 19-21 loss to the Indonesians in a Group D match on July 26.
What's also remarkable is that this was only Aaron-Wooi Yik’s second victory over the Indonesians in nine matches since their first encounter in the Malaysia International Challenge in 2018.
Aaron-Wooi Yik, who stunned top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, also of Indonesia, 21-14, 21-17 in the last eight Thursday (July 29), failed to make the final after losing 22-24, 13-21 to China’s third seeds Li Jun Hui-Liu Yu Chen in the semi-finals on Friday (July 30).
Mohammad-Hendra, the 2019 world champions, also missed out on the final after being outclassed 11-21, 10-21 by Taiwan’s world number three Lee Yang-Wang Chi-Lin in the other semi-final.