The 31st Southeast Asian Games gathers over 5,000 participants from 11 countries in Hanoi, Vietnam. More than a showing of prowess, the biennial event records the stories of athletes pushing the limits of human performance, of men and women overcoming great odds to represent their countries and demonstrate the unifying power of sports. Here, some of the stellar athletes on Asia’s Most Influential list who have triumphed at the regional games and brought home pride and glory.
Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, Badminton Doubles (Malaysia)
Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik won the gold medal at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, ending Malaysia's 16-year title drought in the men’s event. Malaysia's top badminton duo have also brought home the bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and finished as runners-up in the 2019 All England Open. Most recently, they took second place at the 2022 Badminton Asia Championships. Both started on the sport early: Chia was introduced to the sport by his father at age seven; while Soh, who comes from a family of badminton legends, started playing at four years old.