Olympics' dream over, Thomas Cup in doubt for Tze Yong after Asian meet withdrawal

Tough luck: Men singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong has to wait a little longer to compete at the international stage. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Misery continues for singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong.

The 23-year-old Tze Yong has been declared unfit to compete in the Asian Championships from April 9-14 in Ningbo, China. With that, Tze Yong has to forget about his last-minute effort and slim chance to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games in July.

Just a few days ago, Tze Yong had announced that he was ready to compete in the Asian meet.

After slipping out of the top 16 by one rung in the Road to Paris ranking, Tze Yong knew that he had a tough task to qualify.

National director of coaching Rexy Mainaky said on Saturday that Tze Yong had failed to get the clearance from the medical team, although he is on the road to recovery from his back injury.

The surgeon, physio, coaches and Tze Yong have all agreed that he was not physically ready.

Said Rexy: "Our top priority has always been the health and well-being of our players. Tze Yong's recovery and overall condition are paramount concerns for us. Based on the medical assessment, it is with a heavy heart that he will be withdrawn from competing in the Asian meet."

"Tze Yong has progressed to light workouts but he has not resumed high-intensity training, including jumping yet.

"We will closely monitor his progress and condition in the coming weeks. Tze Yong has a promising career ahead, and it's essential to focus on his complete recovery. Although his absence from the Asian meet will also rule him out of Paris, he is still young and will have opportunities to compete in future Olympics."

Tze Yong was heartbroken.

"I'm disappointed to withdraw from the Asian meet, but I understand that my health and recovery come first. I'm grateful for the support of the medical team and my coaches," said Tze Yong.

"I'm committed to focusing on my rehabilitation to return stronger. I look forward to getting back on court as soon as possible so that I can contribute to the team in the future."

Rexy added that depending on Tze Yong's progress and condition in the coming weeks, he may be considered for the Thomas Cup Finals from April 26-May 5 in Chengdu, China.

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