Left with a tall order

Quick ascent : Ng Tze Yong may find himself playing as Malaysia’s first singles at the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok, Thailand .

KUALA LUMPUR: Targets may have to be lowered in major badminton tournaments in the absence of lanky national No. 1 Lee Zii Jia.

Malaysia have set a goal of reaching the final of the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, this year but national coaching director Wong Choong Hann admitted that they would have to re-think their plans following the exit of Zii Jia.

Choong Hann said they would have to be realistic.

“I’ve to be truthful and admit that there will have to be changes without Zii Jia,” said Choong Hann.

“He is one of the deciding variants in determining the strength of the team. I’m not blind to what we have right now but we can only do the best with what we have.”

Choong Hann explained that they had brought forward their goal to reach the Thomas Cup final following good progress shown by Zii Jia, Ng Tze Yong, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani in recent times.

Zii Jia won the All-England while Aaron-Wooi Yik made the nation proud by winning a bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“Initially, we targeted to reach the final of the Thomas Cup in 2024 but we brought it forward following improved showings by Zii Jia, Tze Yong and our top two doubles pairs.

“We have to re-look at our plans. This is unavoidable after what has transpired,” he said.

On the Olympic Games qualification, the focus will now shift to Tze Yong, Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin, Leong Jun Hao and several juniors. The other major tournaments this year are the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Choong Hann said he would not allow the commotion caused by Zii Jia’s move to leave the national team to distract the players’ focus at Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara.

“Zii Jia’s case is not a performance issue but policy and we can’t get distracted by it. We will have to continue grooming the players in the BAM stable and focus on the plans we have at hand,” he said.

Yesterday, Choong Hann spent extra time with some of the probationers who have been promoted to the national squad from the junior side helmed by Datuk Misbun Sidek.

“We will assess their progress in the next three months under the probation period,” he said.

The 18-year-olds who have made the grade are Anson Cheong, Ong Zhen Yi, Chia Jeng Hon, Chua Kim Sheng, Rex Hooi Shao Herng (boys); and Khor Jing Wen, Joanne Ng, Tan Zhing Yi and Loh Zhi Wei (girls).

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Badminton

Wei Chong-Kai Wun double effort to recover in time for Malaysian Open debut
Tang Jie trusts new partnership with Valeree will flourish if given time
Mei Xing plots quick vengeance against Korean pair
Former mixed doubles partners Peng Soon and Liu Ying set for awkward clash
It’s back to training first for Tze Yong as he skips Indonesian Masters
A Dane to tame in Lion City?
Infectious spirit of Thai players keeps Myisha highly motivated to improve
Su Hui sets her sights on higher-level tourneys after bronze feat
Hon Jian sees a good new combo in store with Yen Wei
Aaron-Wooi Yik aim to nail World Tour title in Jakarta

Others Also Read