Worth the weight


Going the distance: Ng Tze Yong falls after retrieving a shot by Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie. — Badminton Photo

PETALING JAYA: From skinny to buff in just five months.

Rising star Ng Tze Yong has cited his physical change as the reason behind his powerful play and inspiring performance in his Thomas Cup Finals debut in Aarhus, Denmark.

The 21-year-old showed he has the potential to become a world beater after stretching world No. 7 Jonatan Christie to the limit before losing 21-14, 19-21, 16-21 in 75 minutes at the Ceres Arena on Friday.

The defeat in the second singles saw Jonatan, who is also the Asian Games champion, seal a convincing 3-0 win to send Indonesia into the semi-finals after his teammates Anthony Ginting and Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya defeated Lee Zii Jia and Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik in the earlier matches.

The energetic performance from world No. 82 Tze Yong has earned praises and he has become a major talking point among the Malaysian badminton fans.

Tze Yong believes he has improved following the weight gain over the last five months.

He now weighs 70kg, six more than what he was back in May.

“I began my weight gain programme since the start of the year. But it was only in the last five months that I intensified my effort,” said Tze Yong.

“After playing in my first World Tour event at the Spain Masters (in May, where he lost early in the second round), I realised there’s an urgent need for me to buff up because I was way too light to compete with more established opponents.

“I was not strong enough and I felt vulnerable. So with the help of a nutritionist, I managed to gain six kilograms in the last five months by taking a lot of protein and working out a lot in the gym.

“At first, I wasn’t too comfortable after getting heavier. But soon I was able to adapt to my new physical shape. I feel much more stronger and it helps with my performance too.

“I hope to get to 75kg, which is my ideal weight,” added the 180cm tall player.

Although he could not keep Malaysia’s hopes alive during the clash with Indonesia, Tze Yong said he was pleased with his performance.

“It was not too bad considering I have never played a highly-ranked opponent like Jonatan,” said Tze Yong.

“I really enjoyed the match. All the while, I kept wondering about the gap separating me with the world’s best. I must admit that I felt scared before the match against Jonatan, but not anymore.

“I look forward to keep improving and eventually reach that level one day.”

THOMAS CUP FINALS

China bt Thailand 3-0 (Shi Yuqi bt Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-14, 21-17; He Jiting-Zhou Haodong bt Supak Jomkoh-Kittinupong Kedren 21-10, 21-18; Li Shi-feng bt Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-13, 17-21, 21-7). Japan bt South Korea 3-2 (Kento Momota lost to Heo Kwang-hee 19-21, 17-21; Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi lost to Choi Solgyu-Seo Seung-jae 18-21, 13-21; Kanta Tsuneyama bt Jeon Hyeok-jin 21-10, 21-16; Akira Koga-Yuta Watanabe bt Kang Minh-yuk-Kim Won-ho 21-15, 21-18; Kenta Nishimoto bt Cho Geon-yeop 21-15, 21-10). I

Indonesia bt Malaysia 3-0 (Anthony Ginting bt Lee Zii Jia 21-15, 21-17; Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya bt Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik 21-17, 16-21, 21-15; Jonatan Christie bt Ng Tze Yong 14-21, 21-19, 21-16).

Denmark bt India 3-1 (Viktor Axelsen bt K. Srikanth 21-12, 21-13; Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen lost to Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty 15-21, 21-17, 18-21; Anders Antonsen bt B. Sai Praneeth 21-8, 21-15; Mathias Christiansen-Frederik Sogaard bt M.R. Arjun-Dhruv Kapila 21-16, 21-9).

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