Zii Jia & Co out to serve triple delight in Denmark

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s top shuttlers, led by national No. 1 singles player Lee Zii Jia (pic), will be out to enjoy a triple treat in Denmark in October, thanks to the Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s revised World Tour calendar.

If all goes according to plan, Zii Jia and a few others will take part in three back-to-back tournaments in Denmark.

The tournaments are Thomas-Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus from Oct 3-11 and followed by Danisa Denmark Open 1 (Oct 13-18) and Denmark Open 2 (Oct 20-25) in Odense.

While some of the players will head back home after the Finals, world No. 10 Zii Jia and several others in the top 32 standings will stay on to compete in the two Open tournaments that offer lucrative prize money – a total of US$750,000 (RM3.1mil) in each leg.

A good showing will also improve the players’ chance to feature in the World Tour Finals in December.

The other players set to compete in all three tournaments are Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (No. 9, men’s doubles), Soniia Cheah (No. 29, women’s singles), Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (No. 14, women’s doubles) and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai (No. 11 and 12, mixed doubles).

Independent shuttlers Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (14th) and Teo Ee Yi-Ong Yew Sin (15th) will also get to compete in the three consecutive tournaments if they get selected for the Thomas Cup Finals.

World No. 6 mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying will only compete in the two Opens as they are not considered for the Finals.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann has given the thumbs up to the world body over their good planning.

“We’re delighted with BWF for revising the calendar. They’ve reduced the number of tournaments but are still giving opportunities for players to play in top-level competitions,” said Choong Hann.

“They’ve given space for the players to breathe in between tournaments and at the same time, taken great measures to ensure all players will be safe during these tournaments. They’ve limited the travel time too.

“All these needed careful planning and lots of coordination and I’m happy the world body have come out with this arrangement for the players.”

Instead of overloading the players with 16 tournaments in 16 weeks, the world body have decided to host only two Opens in Europe (Denmark) and two in Asia.

The two legs in Asia will be held from Nov 10-15 and Nov 17-22 but they have yet to decide on the host country.

Choong Hann said they would send their best players for all the tournaments.

“Of course, it will be great if our players can do well in all three tournaments in October. For now, we are waiting for the world body to unfreeze the world ranking, we’ll then finalise the players for these tournaments,” he said.

The BWF have frozen the world ranking after the All-England in March, which was the last tournament played this year before the Covid-19 put a stop to all their activities.

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