PETALING JAYA: National doubles head coach Flandi Limpele has accomplished a mission in making Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik medal winners just like him in the Olympic Games.
The next goal is to take them to greater heights.
Indonesian Flandi won a bronze with partner Eng Hian at the 2004 Athens, which is his sole Olympics medal in his career.
Now, fast forward 17 years, the 47-year-old has guided the Malaysians to beat not one, but two strong pairs from Indonesia en route to winning the bronze medal.
They world No. 9 upstaged world No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya of Indonesia for the first time in eight meetings in the quarter-finals.
They lost out to the fast-paced Liu Junhui-Liu Yuchen of China in the semi-finals but in the bronze-medal playoff, they clawed from a one-game deficit to shock reigning world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia for the country’s first medal in the Games.
Having an Indonesian coach to plot the downfall of two giants from the neighbouring country has worked wonders for Aaron-Wooi Yik.
A proud Flandi has hailed Aaron-Wooi Yik’s exploit as “extraordinary”.
“I’m so proud of them for sure. The two of them have been truly extraordinary throughout their journey in Tokyo,” said Flandi.
“When I first took over last year, I had the confidence they can do it because they were already a good pair by then.
“Of course, it all boils down to the players themselves.
“They have showed me their commitment and passion for the game by pushing themselves very hard in training. They took up every challenge from the programme I prepared for them.”
However, Flandi was quick to remind Aaron-Wooi Yik to keep their feet firmly on the ground.
He wants them to beat two Olympics finalists – newly crowned champions Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin of Taiwan and China’s Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen.
Lee Yang-Chi Lin oozed class in the manner they blew away Junhui-Yuchen 21-18, 21-12 in the final on Saturday to show they are indeed the most consistent pair this year.
Aaron-Wooi Yik have never beaten Lee Yang-Chi-lin and Junhui-Yuchen before.
“Sky is the limit for them,” said Flandi.
“They are still young, there is more room for improvement and for them to make progress.
“They are both highly disciplined, but there are still many areas that they need to work on.
“The focus will be on their speed, endurance and strength. These are the elements that they are still lacking behind their Taiwanese and Chinese rivals.”