Without Hendrawan, Seu Bock will be Zii Jia’s guiding hand in England

PETALING JAYA: World No. 11 Lee Zii Jia will only have coach Datuk Tey Seu Bock to guide him when he competes in the All-England from March 17-21.

The 48-year-old Seu Bock missed the trip to the Swiss Open in Basel this week after failing to get clearance from the Immigration Department.

However, he received the green light to join the team in Birmingham for the All-England.

Seu Bock will stand in for Hendrawan, who is among four Indonesian head coaches in the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) who failed to obtain their visas.

The other three are Flandi Limpele (men’s doubles), Indra Wijaya (women’s singles) and Paulus Firman (mixed doubles).

Tan Bin Shen (men’s doubles) and Teo Kok Siang (mixed doubles) are the two assistants who travelled to Switzerland.

Loh Wei Sheng (women’s singles) will only travel to England later as world No. 62 S. Kisona was only assigned for the All-England.

Seu Bock’s no-show during the team’s departure last Saturday initially raised a few eyebrows but BAM secretary Datuk Kenny Goh had since shed some light on the former’s absence.

“There was nothing amiss. We applied for both tournaments, Seu Bock got approval for the All-England but not the Swiss Open, ” said Kenny.

“So he will definitely be there for the All-England. He will travel together with Kisona and the rest.

“Unfortunately, all four Indonesian coaches were not approved. Travelling during Covid-19 is much more complicated as we need to apply the travel permit through the MyTravelPass to enter and exit the country.

“We even made these applications before the Chinese New Year.

“We must thank the National Sports Council (NSC) for their assistance. I believe they will be bringing up this issue with the Immigration Department as this would affect athletes and officials from other sports too when they have competitions abroad.”

However, Zii Jia will not find himself alone in Basel as he can certainly count on coaching director Wong Choong Hann for advice.

The shuttler is under immense pressure to bounce back from his poor outings in the three back-to-back World Tour tournaments in Bangkok last month.

As the second seed, he will be aiming to build on a good momentum before heading to Arena Birmingham in his bid to replicate his fine run last year.

He made it to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

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