Zii Jia believes Malaysia strong enough to meet top-four target

PETALING JAYA: Independent player Lee Zii Jia believes Malaysia have a good chance of meeting the top-four finish as targeted by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) based on a full-strength squad that will be competing in the Asian Mixed Team Championship in Dubai from Feb 14-19.

World no. 4 Zii Jia will be leading the team where he will have Leong Jun Hao as the back-up in the men’s singles while the women’s singles will feature independent shuttler Goh Jin Hao and BAM’s Wong Ling Ching.

The men’s doubles consists of world champions and world No. 2 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi while the women’s doubles will have Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah and Teoh Mei Xing-Go Pei Kee.

The line-up is completed by independent pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing and the in-form BAM combination Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei.

Jin Wei did not attend training yesterday due to health issues but is set to join the rest soon.

Zii Jia is expected to be fielded in main matches, especially against India where he would either play against world No. 11 Lakshya Sen or world No. 9 H.S. Prannoy in the men’s singles as Leong Jun Hao may not have the experience to play in crunch matches.

Zii Jia, who said he was happy to be back to meet his former coaches at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) and train with ex-teammates during the first day of Asian Mixed Team centralised training, said Malaysia can challenge the others in Dubai.

“I think the semi-final target is not a problem. Even if we are second in the group, we still have a chance to achieve that,” said Zii Jia.

“We are going with the full team and this means we should be looking for the best result.

“I have been preparing hard for this competition and for Lakshya, he has also been going through a phase like me. So, I’m looking forward to meeting him.

“I’m still in the process of rediscovering my confidence but if the coaches decide to field me during the competition, I’m ready to play.”

Meanwhile, Zii Jia has also been trying to keep his focus on the tournament and does not want to be distracted by former coach Indra Wijaya’s decision to take legal action against him.

This comes after Zii Jia decided to part ways with Indra in November.

Zii Jia’s sister Zii Yi, who acts as the shuttler’s manager, confirmed that Indra and Zii Jia’s lawyers are dealing with the matter. She also confirmed that their lawyer has received a legal letter from Indra’s lawyer but refused to elaborate further on the matter.

“What I have done before is what has happened and I can’t change it. As far as I know, we have separated very peacefully and there were no issues,” said Zii Jia.

“I was also shocked when the news surfaced. It has happened, so let it be. I want this to be settled peacefully. I don’t want to make too many comments on this as it will only drag this further.’’

Zii Jia, however, will be hoping that the Asian Mixed Team Championship will give him the chance to take his mind off from legal matters and focus on what he badly wants to achieve – produce results on court.

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