SHUTTLER Lee Zii Jia has been sparring with Thailand’s 2019 World Championships bronze medallist Kantaphon Wangcharoen ahead of the Asian Games.
With the quality training in his bag, the Malaysian is hoping to have some Siamese sting in Hangzhou.
Sporting a blue headband, the Malaysian No 1 attended centralised training for the Asiad on the fourth day at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara yesterday, after having gone through his own programme for the past three days.
The 25-year-old is set to make his second appearance in the men’s singles at the Games after making his debut in Jakarta 2018.
“He’s not just a sparring partner but he has been training with me,” Zii Jia said of Kantaphon after his training session.
“He’s the same age as me and is a good friend. I welcome anyone who wants to train with me. I think this arrangement will benefit both of us.”
The Thai will also be competing in the Games.
Quality sparring has been hard to come by for Zii Jia since he left the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to turn independent last year.
He has been struggling to recapture his best form this year and is hoping for a positive outing in the Asiad.
Zii Jia suffered a second round exit in the Hong Kong Open recently after surprisingly going down 21-19, 17-21, 20-22 to Taiwan’s world No. 24 Lin Chun-yi in Kowloon.
It was his 13th early round exit in 16 individual tournaments this year.
His poor form had seen him drop from No. 14 to No. 16 in the latest world rankings.
Despite that, Zii Jia was pleased with his preparations so far.
“Everything has been going well so far,” he said. “I just want to give my best.”
Zii Jia was an upcoming youngster when he made his debut in the Jakarta Games and lost in the second round of the individual event to South Korea’s Son Wan-ho.
He was also part of the team which went down 0-3 to Japan in the quarter-finals of the team event.