Mixed doubles specialist Goh Liu Ying is on the cusp of becoming Malaysia’s most successful female shuttler at the Olympics, by virtue of appearance and medals.
The 32-year-old is set to make her third appearance at sporting’s premiere stage at the Tokyo Games in less than a month, hoping to do one better than the silver medal she achieved with Chan Peng Soon in Rio five years ago.
No other national female shuttler has won a medal at the Olympics since badminton made its debut at the 1992 edition in Barcelona.
“It means a lot to me to have qualified for my third Olympics. This also serves as motivation for plenty of youngsters out there as well, it proves that Malaysian women are getting stronger.
“I hope one day many records can be broken by our female athletes,” Goh told Stadium Astro.
Goh-Chan are seeded seventh in Tokyo, which should give them a favourable draw in the group stage.
But ranking is merely a number at this point, as shuttlers from all across the globe converge in Tokyo having been starved of competitive action due to the pandemic.
In fact, the top two seeds – Chinese pairs Zheng Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong and Wang Yi Lyu-Huang Dong Ping – have not featured on the World Tour circuit in over a year due to their country’s travel restrictions.
“Anyone in the top eight stands a chance to win. On paper, China may look to have the advantage, but they have not played [on the international stage] for a long time.That is the difference, playing in training and competitively.
“Competing at the Olympics is all about being strong not just physically, but mentally. Players who enter the arena with a strong mindset automatically have the advantage,” she added.
This year’s record would give Chan-Goh,who have been playing together since 2009, plenty of optimism as they intensify preparations for Tokyo.
After three quarter-finals appearances in Thailand and Switzerland, they made the semis of the All-England Championships, which was the final event played on the World Tour.