PETALING JAYA: It’s a relief to Lee Zii Jia (pic) as he is back in the top 10 in the latest world rankings yesterday following a drastic improvement in his performance in several Badminton World Federation (BWF) tournaments since the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
The independent shuttler moved one spot from world No. 11 to world No. 10 in the BWF world rankings after reaching the quarter-finals of the China Masters in Shenzhen last week.
Zii Jia, who was once ranked as high as No. 2 last year but continuous defeats in the preliminary rounds on the BWF tour saw Zii Jia dropping out of the top 10 in June.
Things did not improve as the 25-year-old from Alor Star dropped to as low as No. 18 in August.
However, things started improving under the guidance of his new coach Wong Tat Meng, who started in July. He reached the quarter-finals of the Asian Games in September and managed to upset reigning world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the second round.
Zii Jia won his first title of the year by clinching the Arctic Open in Finland in October and finished runner-up at the Denmark Open in Odense a week later.
His current position puts him on the right track to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics where compatriot Ng Tze Yong is also in the race to earn a second men’s singles berth for Malaysia.
Tze Yong, who dropped a spot from No. 14 to No. 15, should make his debut at Paris 2024 as long as he remains in the top 16 until the conclusion of the qualifying period at the end of April.
In the men’s doubles, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik dropped a rung from No. 2 to No. 3 but it is not expected to affect their chances of securing an Olympic berth.
Aaron has already spoken about the pair’s aspirations of claiming the world No. 1 spot and will be aiming to do that by doing well in the World Tour Finals in Hangzhou from Dec 13-17.
Independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi are unchanged at No. 11 while Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) combination Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun have improved a spot from No. 20 to No. 19.
Independent shuttler Goh Jin Wei also consolidated her position as the top Malaysian women’s singles player after breaking into the top 30 by moving up three spots from No. 31 to No. 28.
Women’s doubles duo Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (No. 12) as well as mixed doubles pairs Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei (No. 9), Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (No. 14) and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (No. 21) have seen their positions unchanged in the latest rankings list.