Zii Jia will not dwell on the past, focused on assignment at hand

Don’t drop it: Taiwanese doubles player Wang Chi-lin during a training session at the Axiata Arena. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

ONE of the ways to be resilient in the face of harsh criticism is to ignore them.

That’s exactly what independent player Lee Zii Jia aims to do.

The world No. 5 will not allow the brickbats hurled at him for pulling out of the Commonwealth Games to affect his performance in the Malaysian Open, which begins at the Axiata Arena tomorrow.

Zii Jia, yesterday, reiterated that he has already given his reasons for his withdrawal, which was to double up his efforts in trying to capture the world title in Tokyo from Aug 21-18.

While the public generally had accepted his decision positively, certain quarters had questioned his patriotism and priority.

“If you are expecting me to dwell in the matter and make further comments, I may have to disappoint you.

“I’m not going to react about this issue and will not allow it to affect my preparation,” said Zii Jia after his first official practice at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

“As a professional player, I want to stay away from this and seriously focus on badminton. I do not want to get dragged into any conflict after this. My focus will be strictly on badminton.”

The 24-year-old is focused on becoming the first Malaysian Open champion. The last men’s singles champion was Lee Chong Wei, who won his 12th home title in 2018.

“I have not played here for the last two years and it is good to be back. Looking forward to competing in the Malaysian Open.

“The sellout crowd is a good sign for the game and will be a boost for all our players,” added Zii Jia.

At the recent Indonesian Open, Zii Jia stretched the in-form Olympic Games champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark to three games before a narrow defeat in the semi-finals.

Axelsen, who won the Indonesia Open and Indonesian Masters titles back-to-back, will be the player to beat.

Zii Jia is expected to face stiff challenge from second seed Kento Momota of Japan in the last eight but the former is not looking at any specific opponent to conquer as his main aim is to have another fine run.

“I will try my best and achieve something in this tournament. I’m focusing on any specific player. The most challenging part for me in the battle is myself,” he added.

Zii Jia opens his campaign in the first round against France’s Toma Junior Popov.

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