PETALING JAYA: It’s been a year since two-time Olympics champion Lin Dan retired from the game but he is still keeping close tabs on the badminton scene.
The 37-year-old told his former rival Lee Chong Wei that he was impressed with Lee Zii Jia’s success at the All-England and thought the world No. 8 stood a chance of glory in Tokyo prior to his last-16 defeat to eventual silver medallist Chen Long.
Despite a rousing opening game, Zii Jia failed to cope with a resurgent Chen Long and lost 21-8, 19-21, 5-21.
During their virtual meeting on Douyin video-sharing platform on Monday, the legends shared their views on what went wrong for the 23-year-old debutant.
Both agreed that Zii Jia had it too easy in the first game and didn’t know how to react when the reigning champ took his game up a notch.
“Earlier this year, I watched the All-England and thought that he was quite impressive,” said Lin Dan.
“He overcame two top players Kento Momota and Viktor Axelsen en route to the title and I really thought he stood a great chance (at the Olympics).
“Against Chen Long, putting the third game aside, he played absolutely brilliant.
“Now that he has succeeded you as the Malaysian No. 1, do you think he has what it takes to fight for gold in Paris?
Chong Wei replied: “Certainly. Even in this edition, we were hoping he could win a medal.
“In my opinion, he was playing the first game too fast. He failed to control his emotions. And after winning easily, he probably didn’t expect Chen Long to fight back.
“In the second, maybe he wanted to finish off the match. But Chen Long is highly experienced, kept his cool, played it point by point. In the third, with his confidence boosted, Chen Long stepped on the gas and took control.”
Lin Dan chipped in: “From my experience, you can’t let your opponent run away with a five or six-point lead, it’s going to be hard to make a comeback.”
Chong Wei revealed that he had a chat with Zii Jia after the match.
“I told him there’s a lot to learn from his experience in Tokyo. He should now think ahead and prepare for Paris 2024.”