PETALING JAYA: National top men's singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia's (pic) hopes of qualifying for the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou next month have gone up in smoke.
The 21-year-old has been forced to withdraw from the Hong Kong Open, which begins on Tuesday (Nov 12), after failing to recover from an illness that saw him retire midway through his second round match against world No. 1 Kento Momota at the Fuzhou China Open last Thursday.
The Hong Kong Open and Korean Masters, which will be held in Gwangju from Nov 19-24, are the two last stops of the World Tour.
It's not immediately known if Zii Jia will also be pulling out from the Korean Masters.
But missing out on next week's event is enough to put paid to any of his remaining hopes of securing a ticket to the lucrative US$1.5mil (RM6.2mil) event, which is only for the top eight ranked (singles) players and (doubles) pairs on this season's Tour.
Zii Jia is currently ranked ninth in the Race to Guangzhou standings and could be still in the running to make the cut had he been fit to play in the last two outings of the season.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), in a statement on Sunday (Nov 10) said: "Zii Jia was forced to withdraw from the upcoming Hong Kong Open due to severe food poisoning.
The 21-year-old found the illness debilitating and was unable to train. He is set to undergo further medical check-ups and continue his recovery in Malaysia."
With Zii Jia out, independent shuttler Liew Daren will be Malaysia's sole flag bearer in the men's singles competition in Hong Kong.
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