I REFER to the StarSport report “Indra: Zii Jia’s loss due to minor lapse in focus, not overconfidence” (The Star, March 21).
I am fairly certain that badminton fans watching the 2022 All England Open Badminton Championships semi-finals between Lee Zii Jia and India’s Lakhsya Sen were enthralled by the high-quality performance and fighting spirit shown by both players. Although Zii Jia seemed to be in control of the third set, a resolute Lakhsya managed to edge him out in the final stages of the game.
The outcome must have been a huge disappointment for Zii Jia who, as defending champion, came so close to making it to his second consecutive final of this prestigious tournament.
But despite this setback, he has once again proven his world class status by reaching the semi-finals. Along the way, he outclassed world number two Kento Momota of Japan in the quarter-finals. In my view, Zii Jia, who is only 23, has yet to reach his peak and is well poised to rise in the world rankings in the coming years.
As for the men’s doubles segment, it is pertinent to note that five pairs from Malaysia had qualified for the tournament. However, none managed to advance beyond the second round. They included Tokyo Olympic Games bronze medallists Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and world number 11 Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi who bowed out in the second round.
Three other pairs, including reigning German Open champions Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (pic), were eliminated in the first round. However, to their credit, all three pairs fought hard against their opponents and the invaluable experience gained would put them in good stead for future tournaments.
True to form, Indonesia has once again shown that they have a large pool of doubles players who could be relied upon to shine at major tournaments. Three of their pairs, including world number one Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya, made it to the semi-finals.
This time around, youngsters Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana upset the form book and won the doubles title after beating their world number two compatriots Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in the finals.
It is imperative that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and its panel of coaches take valuable lessons from this tournament with a view to improving the performance and consistency of our players, particularly when preparing for the Thomas Cup finals that will be held from May 8 to May 15 in Bangkok this year.
HUSSAIN ABU BAKAR