Zii Jia fully prepared to serve nation at Asia team meet


Practice makes perfect: Malaysia’s Lee Zee Jia at a training session ahead of the Asia Team Championships at Setia Alam Convention Centre. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

SHAH ALAM: Men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia is pumped up for action to help Malaysia defend the men’s team title in the Asia Team Championships starting today at the Setia Alam Convention Centre in Shah Alam.

The former All-England champion, who returned after training with the Badminton Korea Association (BKA) for 10 days at their training base in Jincheon, Seoul, recently, is ready to be fielded any time his services are needed.

“Everything has gone well for me so far and I’m now fully prepared for this tournament,” said Zii Jia.

“It was a great experience for me to get to train in Korea. My coach (Wong Tat Meng) made the arrangements for me to train there.

Dangerous bunch: India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty.Dangerous bunch: India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty.

“It was a new opportunity for me to get to know another’s country’s culture and how they train.

“The Koreans have one of the best training centres in the world.

“They also welcomed me with open arms and treated me very well. I didn’t feel like an outsider at all while I was there,” added Zii Jia.

The world No. 10 is now ready to spearhead the men’s team’s challenge in the team meet which also acts as the qualifiers for the Thomas Cup Finals from April 27-May 5 in Chengdu, China.

“The team is almost the same as the last time and my teammates and I want to defend the title at home,” said Zii Jia.

“It’s a tough mission for us but we will give everything to achieve our goal.”

Zii Jia and his teammates will open their campaign in Group B today against Brunei.

China’s Weng Hongyang.China’s Weng Hongyang.

The team will play Kazakhstan in their second group match before taking on Taiwan.

The top two teams in the group will advance to the quarter-finals.

The other singles players in the team are Ng Tze Yong, Leong Jun Hao and youngster Eogene Ewe while the doubles pairs selected are national No. 1 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and Choong Hon Jian-Mohd Haikal Nazri.

Eogene and Hon Jian-Haikal will be making their debuts while the others were part of the victorious team last time around.

GROUPINGS AND PAST WINNERS

MEN

Group A: China, India, Hong Kong

Group B: Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, Kazakhstan

Group C: Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar

Group D: Indonesia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia

WOMEN

Group W: China, India

Group X: Indonesia, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan

Group Y: Malaysia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates

Group Z: Japan, Taiwan, Singapore

PAST WINNERS

Men’s team: Indonesia (2016, 2018, 2020), Malaysia (2022)

Women’s team: China (2016), Japan (2018, 2020), Indonesia (2022)

TODAY’S FIXTURES

9am: Women

Group X: Indonesia vs Kazakhstan

Group Y: Thailand vs United Arab Emirates

Group Z: Japan vs Singapore

1pm: Men

Group A: China vs Hong Kong

Group C: Japan vs Myanmar

Group D: Indonesia vs Saudi Arabia

5pm: Men

Group B: Malaysia vs Brunei, Taiwan vs Kazakhstan

Group C: Thailand vs Singapore

Group D: South Korea vs United Arab Emirates

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