Thomas Cup candidates Zii Jia and Jun Hao face untimely setback


  • Badminton
  • Wednesday, 19 Aug 2020

Overstretched: Leong Jun Hao has been diagnosed with a muscle tear and it would take about three weeks to recover.

KUALA LUMPUR: Injuries to two key players Lee Zii Jia and Leong Jun Hao have dealt a massive blow to Malaysia’s preparations for the Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark, from Oct 3-11.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are now sweating over the two singles players, who were injured during last week’s internal tournament at Academy Badminton Malaysia and could be out for three to four weeks.

Zii Jia pulled his lower back muscle after an epic 80-minute battle with Soong Joo Ven, who prevailed 21-19, 11-21, 29-27 last Thursday. The injury forced him to withdraw from the tournament after playing three matches in the round-robin stage.

Jun Hao battled through a right hip problem throughout the preliminary stage before the pain finally took its toll on him as he went down tamely to Ng Tze Yong 13-21, 8-21 in the final.

“It has been four days since I took a break after that match. But I still feel the pain when I move my body,” said Zii Jia when met at the ABM after he returned from a doctor’s appointment at the National Sports Institute (NSI) yesterday.

“The doctor performed an ultrasound scan and found that I had a muscle tear on my lower back.

“I didn’t think it could be this serious. It may take three to four weeks before I can resume full training.”

Zii Jia had suffered the same problem two years ago when he slipped during a training session but when he returned from his injury, he went on to win the Taiwan Open for his sole World Tour victory to date.

Jun Hao said he has also been diagnosed with a muscle tear and it would take about three weeks to recover.

“I will go for a more detailed check-up on Friday,” said Jun Hao.

With the untimely setback, the participation of world No. 10 Zii Jia and Jun Hao, who are seen as the candidates for the Finals, are in doubt. The duo were part of the team that reached the quarter-finals in Bangkok two years ago.

The others fighting for places are Cheam June Wei, Liew Daren, Soong Joo Ven, Ng Tze Yong and Lim Chong King.

National coaching director Wong Choong Hann, however, has downplayed the injury concerns.

“They won’t be completely out of training ... it’s not that bad,” said Choong Hann.

“They will continue to train while undergoing rehabilitation. The coaches just need to adjust their training programmes accordingly.

“I won’t say this is a huge setback compared to the time during the MCO (movement control order) when we couldn’t train at all.

“The players have regained their fitness level since training resumed, so I don’t see any issue at all.”

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