Malaysia men’s doubles ace Aaron Chia believes in the quality of the men’s team ahead of the Asian Games team event beginning on September 28.
Malaysia never won the team event since it was first contested in 1962, with only hosts China, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand taking turns to claim glory.
Despite the national contingent not being expected to contend for the title this time around too, team captain Chia said the team could be formidable opponents.
“The performance of the men’s team has gone up overall. But it is the performance on the day that will count more than anything. It will be challenging, as we may not be seeded. We could meet a strong team as early as the quarter-finals.
“Our preparations have been focused on physical and endurance, as we had back-to-back events before this,” he said.
On paper, Chia and partner Soh Wooi Yik are the best performing Malaysian shuttlers, having reached three finals this year.
The other doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi are battling a dip in form, while the men’s singles is made up of Lee Zii Jia, Ng Tze Yong, Leong Jun Hao and Cheam June Wei.
Chia and Soh are preparing to make their Asian Games debut as they seek another medal in a multi-sport Games.
The world number five pair won gold at the 2019 SEA Games and 2022 Commonwealth Games, besides the bronze medal they won at the Tokyo Olympics.
Only the men’s contingent are competing in the team event, as the national body opted to skip the women’s team for this Hangzhou edition.