Sparring with Antonsen will benefit Tze Yong and Co, says Hendrawan


PETALING JAYA: The presence of Anders Antonsen of Denmark has doubled the excitement in the national singles camp.

And national coach Hendrawan believes it will benefit both parties.

The world No. 11 Antonsen is using his short training stint at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) as his preparation for the World Tour Finals in Hangzhou, China, from Dec 13-17 while Hendrawan wants Ng Tze Yong and Co to use the sparring opportunity to sharpen their claws for the season opener, the Malaysian Open from Jan 9-14.

The Korean Open champion arrived in Kuala Lumpur last week but only started training with the team on Monday.

“He only joined us yesterday (on Monday) because he had arrived with blisters on his feet last week. Today (yesterday), he did not join us because he was sick,” said Hendrawan.

“He will join us tomorrow but the first day training was good.

“As a top player, Antonsen gives quality in training and also shows how important it is to be a thinking player on court.

“All our senior and young players sparred with him and we also had matches. It was good for our youngsters as they can compare for themselves their standard with top players.

“For Tze Yong, this session can be useful as he prepares for the Malaysian Open.”

A good show at the home tournament will move world No. 15 Tze Yong closer to his aspiration of becoming an Olympian.

He has to remain in the top 16 to stand a chance to qualify with Lee Zii Jia for the Paris Olympics next year.

A country can have two singles players if both are in the top 16.

Tze Yong missed the cut for the Finals despite finishing the season at the number eighth spot. He had to give up his spot to accommodate reigning world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn, who did not qualify for the top eight battle, but was given a wildcard to compete.

Malaysia will not have a representative in the men’s singles as Zii Jia also did not make the cut despite making a last minute scramble to qualify.

Besides Kunlavut and Antonsen, the other qualifiers are Kodai Naraoka of Japan; Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie and Anthony Ginting; China’s Shi Yuqi, Li Shifeng; and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen.

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