Every generation in badminton brings players that stand out and dominate the court. While it’s always an honor to witness legends who have been in the game for a long time, it’s also exciting to see new players who create their own legacy. This is the story of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, two players who have made a name for themselves in badminton.
Aaron Chia, National Shuttler
Aaron Chia Teng Fong, commonly known as Aaron Chia, was born on February 24, 1997, in Batu Berendam, Malaysia. He became interested in badminton at age four after often following his father to the court. Later, he grew up playing badminton competitively and eventually represented his city Malacca at 11. When he turned 14, Aaron Chia entered Bukit Jalil Sports School (SSBJ) and trained with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).
After his international debut at the Indonesia International Series in 2014, Aaron Chia joined the national team in 2015. Now, he’s known as the Badminton World Federation men’s doubles number two player, a badminton player with lightning-quick reflexes who always gives his all in a match. In 2017, he was paired with fellow Malaysian player Soh Wooi Yik to form one of the strongest badminton men’s doubles teams.
A Champion’s Setbacks and Moving Forward
Aaron Chia has had many noteworthy achievements throughout his career. At a young age, he had already plastered his name in the Badminton World Federation’s history, but he has also had to overcome many setbacks.
After many wins since his first international debut, his badminton career took an unexpected turn when he was pulled out of the 2022 Japan Open. Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik were crowned as the world champions in Tokyo, but the former sustained an injury in his armpit muscle. Aaron Chia experienced shoulder pain during the championships, which led to his break from the sport.
After being cleared of serious injury, Aaron Chia’s long-awaited wedding reception with his wife, Mui Kee, finally happened on September 16, 2022. He has two children with his wife and considers them his pillar of strength in his badminton career.
Now that he’s done with his injury fears that could derail his badminton journey, he’s set to resume his career as a world-class badminton champion.
Soh Wooi Yik, From a Family of Badminton Players
If badminton runs in the blood, it definitely runs in the veins of Soh Wooi Yik. Born on February 17, 1998, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Soh Wooi Yik started playing badminton when he was four. He’s the son of former national shuttler Soh Goon Chup, who won bronze at the 1983 SEA Games with Beng Tiong Ong. His maternal uncle, Beng Kiang Soo, was a former Malaysian badminton player who won the 1992 Thomas Cup with Soon Kt Cheah.
Unsurprisingly, Soh Wooi Yik started playing professionally when he turned six. Initially, he may have been interested in football, but he eventually learned to love his family’s sport. He played singles and went to Bukit Jalil Sports School when he was 13. BAM former technical director Morten Frost determined his talent as a doubles player. At 15, he won gold in the 2015 ASEAN School Games with Zi Heng Ooi.
Soh Wooi Yik’s badminton career flourished when he was paired with Aaron Chia in 2017. Now, he’s known as a Badminton World Federation men’s doubles number two player and has achieved numerous awards throughout his career.
Breakdowns for a Breakthrough
Even though born to play badminton, Soh Wooi Yik has had his share of setbacks. When he was 18, he quit the national team because of an ankle injury. He stopped playing for two years, nearly giving up hope of ever returning to badminton. Fortunately, the Petaling Badminton Club gave him a chance, and in mid-2017, he rejoined BAM and the national team.
After being crowned world champions in Tokyo in 2022, he and his partner Aaron Chia pulled out of the Japan Open due to injuries. In October of that same year, Soh Wooi Yik also took an early break from training due to exhaustion.
The national doubles coach Tan Bin Shen confirmed that the player didn’t suffer any injury but needed some time off to rest and recover. He also felt pain in his hand, perhaps from pushing too hard in training.
While the break caused a minor scare to fans, Soh Wooi Yik was back on the court, set to win more titles with Aaron Chia.
Two Champions In One
What do we get when we put together an incredibly talented badminton player and another from a family of badminton players? We get Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, two world-class champions. Badminton fans have seen how much they have grown since their first pairing in 2017.
The two forces of nature won gold at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. And during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, they brought home bronze medals for men’s doubles. Their breakthrough happened when they won gold during the BWF World Championships in Tokyo, becoming Malaysia’s first to win the prestigious title.
Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik are living legends, inspiring other young and old badminton players. As Aaron Chia said, “Badminton, for me, is my life. Half of my life has been dedicated to badminton.” His dedication and Soh Wooi Yik’s have been so inspiring that others have taken notice.
Badminton fans worldwide look forward to the next title they will win together. And what makes them constantly starved for a taste of success? Soh Wooi Yik said, “We’ve failed so many times and we went years without winning any titles. But we’ve learned from them, kept our focus, and worked harder.”
A Golden Future
Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik continuously surprise fans with their flexibility, execution, and skills. They’re young badminton stars who’ve raised Malaysian badminton to a new level. The two champions strive for excellence, aiming to keep their streak of success going.
Their unwavering passion and commitment to the sport have earned them a special place in Malaysian badminton history, with many more years of gold medals and prestigious titles to come.
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