Rexy finally gets the monkey off his back

Rexy Mainaky
29/08/2022 05:58 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 (Bernama) -- It has taken 12 long years but national badminton coach Rexy Mainaky has finally got the job done - and in magnificent fashion, too.

At the 2010 World Championships, he felt a pang of remorse when his charges - 2006 Asian Games men’s doubles champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong - fell 21-18, 18-21, 14-21 to China’s Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng in the final.

Fast forward to 2022, Rexy, who rejoined the Badminton Association Malaysia (BAM) last December after leaving the national body in 2012, can finally heave a huge sigh of relief after guiding top national men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to create history by becoming Malaysia’s first-ever badminton world champions in Tokyo, Japan yesterday (Aug 28).

Aaron-Wooi Yik put up a superb performance to topple three-time world champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia 21-19, 21-14 in the final of the 2022 BWF World Championships at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

“When I accepted BAM’s offer, I was definitely committed to guide the Malaysian players to become world champions. It looks like Aaron and Wooi Yik have helped me repay my debt (of failure in 2010) in full,” Rexy said at a virtual press conference today.

The BAM doubles coaching director believes that Aaron-Wooi Yik’s sensational achievement in Tokyo will definitely pave the way for other national shuttlers, not just from the doubles department, to go on and win more titles, including at the world meet, as well as to finally clinch the elusive Olympic Games gold medal in Paris 2024.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian doubles expert admitted that Aaron-Wooi Yik’s failure to bring home gold at the recent Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was what fired them up to make a statement of intent in Japan.

“The Commonwealth Games is a big deal as it takes place once every four years. You can see how Aaron-Wooi Yik were under pressure when they lost in the semi-finals. However, that loss was what motivated them to bounce back and deliver the goods at the World Championships,” he added.

The national pair had lost 21-18, 17-21, 4-21 to England’s Ben Lane-Sean Vendy in the semi-final of the quadrennial Games recently.

Asked why he decided to kneel in front of Aaron-Wooi Yik after they bagged their first-ever title since being paired up in 2017, the 54-year-old coach said it was his way of showing his appreciation for all their previous struggles.

“I kind of felt a ‘heart attack’ after the game and it’s difficult to describe how I felt after guiding Aaron-Wooi Yik to win the world title. Anyway, I have to thank God for making our journey go smoothly and also thank Aaron-Wooi Yik, the BAM, National Sports Council, National Sports Institute, fellow coaches and teammates for this victory,” he said.