Hendrawan fears wait may be too weighty on shuttlers

PETALING JAYA: National badminton men’s singles head coach Hendrawan (pic) has mixed feelings over the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

The postponement of the Games follows the decision to call off all badminton tournaments until at least the end of May.

Among those who had been waiting eagerly for the Olympics was national No. 1 men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia who had reached a career-high No. 10 in the world rankings.

And now, Zii Jia will have to wait a little longer to make his much-anticipated debut in Tokyo.

While his coach Hendrawan is happy that the postponement will ensure the safety of the players, he is fretting over the impact the delay will have on his charges.

“It’s good for everybody as we can now focus on our health and safety.

“The players also have more time to prepare, ” said the Indonesian.

“On the other hand, all these tournament cancellations will break the rhythm of our players who are all quite young.

“I’m afraid that they don’t have the maturity to handle all this, ” explained Hendrawan.

His predicament is understandable as the likes of Zii Jia, who reached the All-England semi-finals, will lose momentum as he waits for his chance to shine on the biggest test.

Besides Zii Jia, Cheam June Wei also performed well in the Asia Team Championships in Manila, the Philippines, in February but his progress has now been halted due to Covid-19.

He was due to make his first appearance at the Swiss Open (March 17-22) in Basel but now the meet has been shelved.

“Our players have had good results.

“There’s fire in them and they were highly motivated but now everything has changed, ” lamented Hendrawan.

And things are not likely to get better as the government has extended the movement control order until April 14.

For now, Hendrawan just wants his charges to focus on maintaining their fitness at home.

“I have advised them to stay fit. I will talk to them after they are allowed to return for training.”

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