PETALING JAYA: Being the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)’s No. 1 player has its perks but Ng Tze Yong (pic) has not been doing justice to the opportunities that have come his way.
BAM included Tze Yong in the Thomas Cup Finals squad last month but it was a tournament to forget for the Johor-born as he suffered a tame defeat to K. Srikanth as India outplayed Malaysia 3-2 in the quarter-finals.
National singles coaching director Wong Choong Hann had kept his faith in Tze Yong and left out independent shuttlers like Soong Joo Ven and Cheam June Wei for the Thomas Cup mission in Bangkok.
Luck came knocking again, not once but twice for Tze Yong after that, as he was named replacement for Lee Zii Jia for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (July 28-Aug 8) following the world No. 5’s withdrawal while he also made an eleventh hour entry into the Malaysian Open on Monday.
Khosit Phetpradab was supposed to replace the injured Anders Antonsen of Denmark but the Thai shuttler was unable to accept the invitation due to a flight problem and this ensured Tze Yong’s entry into his first top level World Tour event.
World No. 48 Tze Yong, however, did not capitalise on the rare chance and lost 21-16, 21-23, 21-18 to world No. 27 Lu Guangzu of China in the first round in 77 minutes.
Singles coach Hendrawan defended the player by saying that the inclusion in the home tournament wasn’t expected.
“He has also been playing in many tournaments since the Thomas Cup and his fitness level has dropped. We needed to work on this,” said Hendrawan. “As for the Commonwealth Games, we will try our best to help Tze Yong to try and fight for medal of any colour.”
Meanwhile, Tze Yong said he went all out to secure a win against Guangzu but admitted his opponent was steadier when the score was at 18-18 in the deciding game.
“I had prepared well for the last three weeks and gave my everything. My weakness is in the crucial stage and I need to overcome this,” he said.
“I need to be focused in training and if I get another chance, I will be aiming for an upset.”
On his participation in the Commonwealth Games, Tze Yong said he would adopt a wait-and-see approach.
Tze Yong has to step up if Malaysia harbour any hope of winning a medal in Birmingham.