CDM: Zii Jia is stronger and more agile than Chen Long

KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s singles ace Lee Zii Jia has the advantages in terms of strength and agility if he were to play against Chen Long at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

National badminton legend Lee Chong Wei said that Zii Jia, being just 23, clearly had the age advantage over the Chinese player who is 32.

The current world number eight is expected to meet Chen Long in the first round of the knockout stage if both players make it past the group stage.

Chong Wei, who is also Malaysia’s chef de mission (CDM) said he was ready to share strategies and tactics with Zii Jia in facing Chen Long.

However, he admitted that the current performance of Chen Long, who is the world number six, remained a ‘mystery’ after not playing for more than a year in any international tournament following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Chen Long is now being trained by my former coach Li Mao and for sure, he will definitely improve his skills ahead of the Olympics,” said Chong Wei.

“However, I was made to understand that Chen Long did not play well at the local tournament in China.”

The two players have a balanced record of 2-2, but Zii Jia is seen to have a slight advantage after beating Chen Long 21-12, 21-18 in the quarter-final stage of the 2020 All England.

Chong Wei, who is a three-time Olympics silver medallist, also reminded Zii Jia to focus on preparing himself, mentally and physically, in facing the challenges in Japan.

Zii Jia has been drawn in Group M with France’s Brice Leverdez and Ukraine’s Artem Pochtarov while Chen Long will face Spain’s Pablo Abian and Raul Mist of Estonia in Group N. — Bernama

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