PETALING JAYA: Not even falling ill with Covid-19 has dampened national singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong’s (pic) spirit to make a roaring comeback at the Asia Team Championships.
The 21-year-old withdrew from the first round of the Syed Modi International in Lucknow last week and conceded a walkover against Thailand’s Adulrach Namkul. He was eventually tested positive with the virus after returning home.
Fortunately for Tze Yong, his quarantine period is over and he is looking forward to playing his role as the second singles in the team event at Setia City Convention Centre in Shah Alam from Feb 15-20.
“It’s unfortunate that I was tested positive but I’m good,” said Tze Yong.
“In fact, my quarantine period ended today (yesterday) and I will finally get to go back home to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family in Johor. I’ve not been back home for the last 10 months!”
After celebrating this Year of the Tiger, Tze Yong aims to return with a roaring show in the team event.
The world No. 47 will be the second player behind world No. 7 Lee Zii Jia while the other players expected to be featured are Leong Jun Hao and Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin.
Tze Yong was a reserve when Malaysia last played in the Asia Team in 2019, which was the qualifier for the deferred Thomas Cup Finals held in Aarhus, Denmark, last year.
“I’ve a better experience playing in the team. I was a reserve in the qualifier and then, I played in the Thomas Cup last year,” he said.
Who can forget Tze Yong’s fighting show against Jonatan Christie in the second singles before the Malaysian eventually lost. His determination and crafty play won the admiration of many despite the defeat. Malaysia eventually lost 0-3 to Indonesia in the quarter-finals.
“I hope to win all my matches in the Asia team event and help Malaysia qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals.”
Despite his mixed fortunes at the start of the year, Tze Yong believes he is heading in the right direction to break the top 30 target.
He did well to reach the semi-finals of the Indian Open in Hyderabad before the misfortune struck in Lucknow. He could have moved closer to top 30 if he had gone far in the Syed Modi International, and that would have helped him qualify for the All-England in March.
“I’m quite okay with the mixed fortunes I had at the start of this year. There are so many tournaments ahead of me and I will eventually get there (on improving his ranking),” he added.
Tze Yong is not the only Malaysian shuttler to contract the virus after the India stints.
The others recuperating from Covid-19 are mixed doubles shuttler Chan Peng Soon, Teo Ee Yi, Tan Kian Meng, Vivian Hoo and recently, coach Teo Kok Siang.