The 2021 world champions found success hard to come by after winning the 2022 Malaysia Open in July and went through a rocky patch before the 21-13 21-18 victory over Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chang at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday ended their year-long heartache.
Reflecting on their journey, Kobayashi said: “Although it’s been a rough road, we never gave up. We adopted a positive attitude in all our matches. We stayed stubborn, we believed if we continued the same approach, we were bound to win eventually.”
Hoki added: “We’ve been waiting for this a long time. We are relieved but we take this as a form of motivation, that we can be among the Olympic medal contenders.”
Before their slump, Hoki/Kobayashi had established themselves as the pair to beat in 2021, which culminated in a first world title and their most successful season. The back-to-back semifinal showings at the Badminton Asia Championships and Malaysia Masters last month gave Hoki hope of form revival.
“Although we haven’t won for a while, we’ve been hitting the semifinals recently. We got confidence from there we weren’t too far off the track and that we could achieve something.
“We hope to take this new-found confidence into the Indonesia Open and the rest of the season.”
Hoki highlighted stiff competition as the reason why winning had become doubly hard in their discipline. The 27-year-old is convinced no pair are likely to dominate for the time being.
“It’s become hard to tell who the next winners will be. In recent times, it seems every pair is on the same level,” he said. “But we hope this triumph will be the impetus for us to make it back to the top.”
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