AARON Chia rose in the air and it looked for all in the world as if he was going to execute a hard smash.
Instead the national men’s doubles shuttler placed a delicate drop shot that sealed Malaysia’s historic gold medal at the World Championships in Tokyo yesterday.
Aaron and his partner Soh Wooi Yik celebrated like they could not believe they had finally ended the country’s agonizing wait for a world champion.
Wooi Yik was left in tears while doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky fell to his knees and hugged Aaron.
The Malaysian pair looked like they were still trying to fully grasp the magnitude of their achievement.
Aaron-Wooi Yik could not have chosen a bigger tournament to end their title drought.
The world No. 6 pair had also beaten Indonesia’s three time world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (world No. 3) 21-19, 21-14 in 40 minutes.
It was a repeat of the Olympic bronze-medal match at the same venue last year where Aaron-Wooi Yik had maintained the country’s proud record of never returning empty-handed since 2008.
Yesterday’s win was also a fitting Merdeka gift for Malaysia.
The duo, who were often derided for losing their nerves at crucial moments, managed to keep their cool yesterday.
Aaron-Wooi Yik were under pressure from the beginning as Indonesia took an 11-7 and 16-11 lead in the first game.
And at 12-18 down, it looked like the game was beyond them.
But Aaron-Wooi Yik refused to give in and fought back heroically to equal the score at 19-19 and snatched the last two points to wrap up the game.
The experienced Ahsan-Hendra looked rattled and the Malaysians played the second game with even more confidence and closed it at 21-14 to ensure their place in history.
Aaron-Wooi Yik were over the moon after their triumph.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling right now. Of course, we’re very happy to make ourselves and our country proud as we are the first World Champions. We hope that we can keep this momentum and fight for more titles in the future,” said a jubilant Aaron.
Wooi Yik was relieved to finally pull off the breakthrough win with Aaron.
“Aaron and I have been playing together for about four years and this is really a huge boost and a good win for us. We had really worked hard for it despite losing so many times in the semi-finals and finals previously. Finally, we have done it. It’s like a dream, a dream to become the world champions,” said Wooi Yik.