Zii Jia’s pair of aces


The successor: Lee Chong Wei (right) feels Lee Zii Jia can fight for a medal in Tokyo.

PETALING JAYA: The partnership of two coaches – Hendrawan and Datuk Tey Seu Bock – worked wonders for Datuk Lee Chong Wei at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as he went on to win his third silver medal.

His anointed successor Lee Zii Jia could also benefit from the same combination as he bids to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Seu Bock was named as assistant to men’s singles head coach Hendrawan in the recent coaching set-up shake-up. Before the change, he had been the women’s singles head coach since 2018.

Chong Wei was optimistic about the coaching changes.

“Hendrawan and Seu Bock were my coaches leading up to Rio before the latter was moved to another department. Some players prefer one coach, some prefer two but for me, their combination worked well, ” he said.

“I hope it will work for Zii Jia too. I hope the coaches will turn Zii Jia into a medal winner at the Tokyo Games.

“But to Zii Jia and the coaches, no pressure from me!” said Chong Wei, who will be the chef de mission to Tokyo.

Chong Wei, who also emerged as the runners-up at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics editions, said Hendrawan and Seu Bock were unique.

The Indonesian made a name for himself as a player by winning silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the world title in Seville in 2001, and taking home the Thomas Cup three times in 1998,2000 and 2002 before turning coach.

Seu Bock may not have achieved the same accolades as Hendrawan as a player, but as a coach, he worked as an assistant to several of Malaysia’s head coaches – Li Mao (China), Indra Gunawan (Indonesia), Datuk Misbun Sidek and Rashid Sidek.

“They are different but are equally good. Hendrawan was successful as a player and was able to translate all his experiences on the court as a coach. His skill work is good, ” said Chong Wei.

“Seu Bock has worked under so many coaches and he puts all of that together. He is a man full of ideas.

“Together, they are able to complement one another. Zii Jia and the other youngsters will surely benefit from them.”

Chong Wei, however, reminded Zii Jia and the other players not to be overly dependent on the coaches.

“The coaches do make a difference but the players hold a bigger responsibility, ” he said.

“The coaches may contribute 15% to the success of a player but the remaining 85% is based on the players’ own initiative, commitment and discipline, ” said the former national No. 1.

Chong Wei should know. After all, he was dominant for more than decade as Malaysia’s most successful player despite the ups and downs before finally retiring last year due to nose cancer.

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