Norza is optimistic in the strength of the national badminton squad.

Norza is optimistic in the strength of the national badminton squad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria is confident and believes that the national players will ‘explode’ at the 2024 Paris Olympics, which will take place from July 26 to August 11.

Despite the erratic performance at several World Tour tournaments, including the recent Malaysian Masters, Mohamad Norza said that was not a measure of the true performance of the country’s players.

In fact, he, who is also the President of the Malaysian Olympic Council (MOM), believes that the national players will reach their peak of performance in Paris later.

“Let’s say they emerge champions at the Thailand Open, Singapore; do we want them to peak there? We want them to achieve the highest performance in Paris 2024. For them, the benefit of the doubt is unwavering support.

“If they face difficult times, they need us. We will be with them instead of saying, ‘Oh, you are a hopeless winner.’ Athletes who have qualified on merit have a high chance and some of them are already Olympians; they know what they will face,” he told reporters here.

Mohamad Norza also emphasized that the rise and fall in performance of national players is a process that needs to be gone through and it is important for them to continue to be helped so that they can find a solution to be at the highest level of performance in Paris.

“The most important thing is that they have qualified on merit and are in the top 10 in the world. Especially Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, who are in the top five in the world, we should give our best support,” he added.

A total of five national representatives managed to qualify for Paris 2024, namely men’s singles player Lee Zii Jia, Goh Jin Wei (women’s singles), Aaron-Wooi Yik (men’s doubles), Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (women’s doubles) and Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei (mixed doubles).

In the Asian circuit of the World Tour that started with the Thailand Open last May 14–19, Zii Jia emerged as the champion, while other representatives of countries that have qualified for the Olympics did not perform.

In the Malaysian Masters from May 21–26, Zii Jia lost to defending Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in the final, Tang Jie-Ee Wei and Pearly-Thinaah advanced to the semi-finals, and 2022 world champion Aaron-Wooi Yik (quarter-final) and Jin Wei were eliminated as early as the second round.

At the Singapore Open (May 28–June 2), which saw Zii Jia withdraw due to injury, Aaron-Wooi Yik and Tang Jie-Ee Wei advanced to the quarter-finals, but Pearly-Thinaah and Jin Wei were stranded as early as the first round.
In the Indonesia Open, which is taking place this week, only Zii Jia and Pearly-Thinaah managed to step into the quarter-finals scheduled for today, while Tang Jie-Ee Wei and Aaron-Wooi Yik were eliminated in the first and second rounds, respectively.

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