Coaching stint to remember for Daren in England

PETALING JAYA: The spotlight was on Liew Daren as a coach for Lee Zii Jia at the recent All-England and he did all right.

The 35-year-old Daren said the experience was invaluable and he intends to be better at it.

“Obviously, I was tensed but it was a good experience for me at the big stage as I tried to support Zii Jia as a coach,” said Daren.

Daren, who has been playing a dual role as a player and Zii Jia’s coach, did his best to give Zii Jia pointers and tried to keep him calm en route to reaching the men’s singles semi-finals in Birmingham.

The world No. 4 Zii Jia lost to Shi Yuqi of China but the former declared it was his best performance this year.

Daren, who lost in the first round against Chico Aura of Indonesia last week, was happy to see some positive changes in Zii Jia.

“He is slowly getting better and it all boils down to his renewed self-belief. I think, it could have been a different story if Zii Jia had won the opening game against Yuqi, he played well,” said Daren.

Asked whether Zii Jia had contemplated to quit after losing early in the German Open, Daren said: “I don’t think that thought ever crossed his mind. He was frustrated after another early defeat ... I will be worried if he didn’t feel that way.

“He’s going through a process and how he handles it is the key.

“I’ve learnt quite a bit as a coach, especially in helping Zii Jia to calm down. Sometimes, he tends to get too tensed. He has to learn to be composed. We’ll give him the best support.”

Daren will join Zii Jia by playing in the Swiss Open starting today in Basel and both have China players as their main obstacles in the first round.

Daren plays Lu Guangzu while Zii Jia will face reigning All-England champion Li Shifeng, who defeated Yuqi 26-24, 21-15 in the final on Sunday.

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Liew Daren , coach , Lee Zii Jia , All-England


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