Tokyo Olympics: Shuttlers Zii Jia, Aaron-Wooi Yik set to take centrestage on day seven
By Elmi Rizal Elias
TOKYO, July 28 -- As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics heads into Day Seven on Thursday (July 29), badminton will be surely the focus of all Malaysian sports fans.
That’s because two of the country’s representatives - men’s singles ace Lee Zii Jia and men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik - will be in action in the knockout rounds.
Zii Jia will be competing in the round of 16 after dispatching France’s Brice Leverdez 21-17, 21-5 in the final group match at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza here today.
But the reigning All England champion, who is making his Olympic debut here, will have a mountain to climb as he will face world number six and 2016 Rio Games gold medallist Chen Long next.
The task awaiting Aaron-Wooi Yik in the men’s doubles quarter-finals is just as daunting as they’ve been drawn to face world number one Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon of Indonesia.
The Malaysian pair confirmed their quarter-final spot after finishing runners-up in Group D by defeating Canadians Jason Ho-Nyl Yakura 21-15, 21-13 on Tuesday (July 27).
While Zii Jia and Aaron-Wooi Yik live to fight another day, it was the end of the road for national women’s singles shuttler Soniia Cheah Su Ya, who fell to Thailand’s world number six Ratchanok Intanon today.
The 28-year-old Soniia, who is also making her Olympic debut here, was handed a walkover by the injured Laura Sarosi of Hungary in her opening Group N match on Tuesday (July 27) before going down 21-19, 18-21, 10-21 to Ratchanok today.
Over at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field today, Khairul Anuar Mohamad was the coolest man in the heat of battle when he won the one-arrow shoot-off twice with perfect 10s to march into round three of the men’s recurve individual event.
The 29-year-old, who is ranked 15th in the world, found himself staring at two equally dramatic one-arrow shoot-offs after being tied at 5-5 with his first- and second-round opponents.
Like the shuttlers, Khairul Anuar also faces a tough task in round three this Saturday (July 31) as he’s set to meet South Korea’s Kim Woojin, who finished fourth in the ranking round last Friday (July 23).
In today’s round one clash, Khairul Anuar overcome Finland’s Antti Vikstrom, and then, in round two, he disposed of China’s Wang Dapeng.
Both times Khairul Anuar, who crashed out in the second round at the 2016 Rio edition, scored 10 points to oust his rivals, who both hit nine points in the shoot-offs.
There was no such joy over at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour after national sailors Nuraisyah Jamil and Juni Karimah Noor Jamali ended Day One of the women’s International 470 event in the bottom three today.
However, Olympic debutants Nuraisyah (at the helm) and Juni (as crew) deserve praise for tackling the challenge head-on to finish Race One in 18th spot and 20th in Race Two.
Nuraisyah and Juni, who ended up in 19th spot overall out of 21 pairs with 38 net points, will be back in action on Thursday (July 29) in Race Three and Race Four.
Meanwhile, swimmer Phee Jinq En ended her Tokyo Olympic campaign in dismal fashion after finishing eighth in Heat One of the women’s 200-metre breaststroke event today.
Jinq En, who is featuring in her second Olympics after the 2016 Rio edition, clocked 2:32.57 seconds (s) at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre here.
She, thus, failed to erase her personal best of 2:32.38s which she did en route to clinching bronze at the 2019 Manila SEA Games in the Philippines.
National professional golfer Gavin Kyle Green, meanwhile, is set to begin his quest for Olympic glory on Thursday (July 29) in the first round of the men’s individual competition at the Kasumigaseki Country Club here.
Also in action on Thursday (July 29) will be national sailors Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy and Nur Shazrin Mohamad Latif, who will continue Race 7 and Race 8 of their respective men’s Laser Standard and women’s Laser Radial events at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour.