Sheer determination, perseverance and self-belief were the driving force behind our men’s doubles badminton pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik winning the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics over the Indonesian world No. 2 pair.
From the start of the badminton competition, they were never seen as Olympic medal prospects because of their 9th world ranking and the tough draw that they were matched up with.
In the group stages they were beaten by the same Indonesian world No. 2 pair in straight sets and managed to qualify as runners up.
In the quarter-finals they defeated the former world No. 1 pair from Indonesia and lost to the No. 1 pair from China in the semi-finals after a hard-fought struggle.
And so when they walked into the badminton court for the bronze medal tie with the world No. 2 Indonesian pair who had already beaten them in the group stages earlier, there would have been so much of pressure and psychological disadvantages working against the Malaysian pair.
Their opponents were highly ranked and had defeated them just weeks ago and they were more experienced and talented.
The stakes were against the Malaysians and sure enough they lost their first set after a hard-fought game of smashes and unbelievable drop shots. It was a close game but the Indonesians had that extra edge over the Malaysian pair. The Indonesian pair oozed confidence and had a better track record over the Malaysian pair.
In the second set, the Malaysian pair were trailing the Indonesian pair with five points between them and everything was working for the Indonesians. Nothing was going right for the Malaysians as the Indonesians were having the upper hand.
Watching the match over the television was indeed heart stopping and feverish. Many Malaysians following the game would have been sitting on the edge of their seats biting their finger nails in trepidation and anxiety.
And then suddenly, the Malaysian pair took the court by storm and slowly picked up their game and had the Indonesians making blunders and losing points.
The Malaysians won the second set through sheer determination and true grit. It was not easy to come back from behind and overcome the more experienced and highly-ranked Indonesian pair.
In the final set, the Malaysian pair played an exceptional high-powered game of smashes and incredible drop shots to win against the Indonesian pair, who were outplayed and outclassed by their superb opponents.
The Malaysian pair dropped to the court in sheer ecstasy and joy when they clinched the final point, which was decided by a camera review.
They hugged and wept and counted their lucky stars for winning the match and giving Malaysia a bronze medal in the Olympics.
Malaysians salute them for their stunning display and performance. It was indeed a truly well-deserving victory for the Malaysian pair.
With everything working against them mentally, physically and psychologically, they overcame the odds to win the medal.
It is not an easy feat to win points in the match. Every point matters. Mistakes lead to points lost. They had to be focused, alert and skilful.
They have shown Malaysians that nothing is impossible if you put your heart and soul and mind to the game.
Believe in yourself and you can overcome your adversities, however big and strong they are.
Never say die, if you can conceive in your mind and believe in your heart, you will achieve your heart’s desire.
And no one can make you feel inferior or lower without your consent.
Do not falter by what people say about you because you have seeds of greatness planted in you. Rise to the challenge and take the bull by the horns.
Reprogramme your mind, remove negative labels and release your full potential and you will reap your rewards.
As we now battle the Covid 19 pandemic, let us learn from the Malaysian pair the resilience, self-belief and perseverance to overcome the odds. We can defeat the enemy, do not give up. The enemy may be over-powering us now with escalating surge of infections but we can fight it with our resilience and determination.
In the midst of the gloom and doom, the Malaysian pair has brought us much respite and hope. The Malaysian pair has shown us that victory is all in the mind. Defeat the negativity in the mind and you can do it. Malaysia Boleh!
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