Top five Malaysian shuttlers favorite to qualify for Paris Olympics after January 2024
(Courtesy : BAI)
Malaysia is looking to end the gold drought at the Olympics
The Paris Olympics 2024 are just around the corner, and Malaysian badminton players are gearing up for the biggest event of their careers. The shuttlers have from May 1, 2023, to April 28, 2024, to qualify for the Olympics. The final list of eligible players will be published on April 30, 2024, just two months before the Olympics begin.
The qualification criteria and process are based on the “Race to Paris” ranking list, which considers only the top 10 tournaments of each player. NOCs may enter a maximum of two players each in the men’s and women’s singles if they are ranked in the top 16; otherwise, they will send a single player until the roster of 38 is full.
Similar regulations apply to players competing in the doubles competition, with NOCs allowed to enter a maximum of two pairs if they are ranked in the top eight. In contrast, the others are limited to a single pair until the quota of 16 is reached.
So, who are the top five Malaysian shuttlers who are favorites to qualify for the Paris Olympics? Let’s take a look at their performance and potential:
Lee Zii Jia
Considered to be the next Lee Chong Wei by Malaysian fans and media, Lee Zii Jia (LZJ) will have a huge burden on his shoulders to carry the legacy of Lee Chong Wei forward. LZJ, who was out-of-form last year, had upped his game and is looking for a comfortable position to qualify. He is currently in tenth position in the Road to Paris rankings with 66,016 points. The former Asian championships started his year on a low note, losing in the opening round of the Malaysia Masters (2023), but then bounced back in the India Open (2023) and Indonesia Masters (2023) by reaching the QF. With the European tour around the corner, Lee is expected to do well in those conditions.
- He won one title at Finland Open (2023)
- He was the runner-up at the Denmark Open (2023)
- He reached the SF at the Australia Open (2023)
Aaron Chia/Soh Woo Yik
The former world champions Aron Chia and Soh Woo Yik (ACS) are also in a comfortable position to qualify for the Paris Olympics. They are currently fifth in the rankings with 87,604 points. The first Malaysians to win a gold medal at the World Championships (2023) would also want to become the first Malaysians to win a gold medal at the Olympics. They also reached the SF of the India Open (2023), losing to home favourites Satwik/Chirag.
- They won their maiden World-Tour title at Denmark Open (2023)
- They were the runners-up at China Open (2023) and Indonesia Open (2023)
- They won the bronze medal at World Championships (2023)
- They reached the SF at Asian Games (2023) and India Open (2023)
Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan
Tan/Thinnah are the third Malaysians who can qualify for the Paris Olympics. They are currently 13th in the road to Paris with 60,481 points. They can also offer some surprises at the Olympics and can win a medal for Malaysia. They will enter the competition as the underdogs and will look to do well. They had an average start of the year, reaching just one QF in three tournaments.
- They were the runners-up at Malaysia Masters (2023) and Hong Kong Open (2023)
Chen Tang Jie/Toh Ee Wei
The young Malaysian pair Chen Tang Jie and Toh Ee Wei (CTT) will look to contest in their maiden Olympic finals and they are sitting in a comfortable position to qualify. They are currently in the ninth position with 66,528 points. Even though they are not favourites to win the medal at the Olympics, they have the capability to pull out some surprises from the bag and shock everyone. Their best result was when they reached the semifinal of the China Open (2023), a prestigious Super-1000 tournament.
- They won one title at the Taipei Open (2023)
- They were the runners-up at Thailand Masters (2023)
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Ng Tze Yong
Another great youngster from Malaysia who would want to ensure that two Malaysians qualify for the Paris Olympics in men’s singles is Ng Tze Yong (NTY). He is currently in the 15th position with 57,080 points in the ranking and needs to be in the top 16 to qualify. He was one of the few players whom Viktor Axelsen lost to last year. Even though he won no title in the qualification period, he still has some great moments to enjoy.
- He was the runner-up at the Finland Open (2023).
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