Rashid: Saving Tze Yong’s career more important than missing Olympics and Thomas Cup

Take it slow and steady: Ng Tze Yong may further damage his injured back by rushing into competitions, says Datuk Rashid Sidek.

PETALING JAYA: Former international Datuk Rashid Sidek believes the decision to withdraw men’s singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong from the Asian Championships could have just saved his career.

Never mind that Tze Yong has to forget about qualifying for the Paris Olympic Games by missing the tournament from April 9-14 in Ningbo, China, Rashid is more concerned about the 23-year-old’s life after badminton.

Rashid feels that the shuttler may further damage his injured back by rushing into competitions.

Yesterday, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) national coaching director Rexy Mainaky said the surgeon, physio, coaches and Tze Yong came to a conclusion that it was best for the world No. 18 to skip the tournament.

Rashid warned that it would be almost impossible to recover from a back surgery within weeks and Tze Yong should be given ample time to strengthen his back.

In fact, the former great says Tze Yong should only return when he is physically and mentally ready for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) world tour events.

“Off course, missing the Olympics is a major disappointment for a player but Tze Yong will be risking his career by returning to competition too soon. He can always aim for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics but his career will be gone if his injury recurs,” said Rashid.

“If a player goes through a back surgery, he needs to undergo treatment and rehabilitation longer because even minor mishap can cause irreparable damage.

“The Asian meet is not going to be easy as Tze Yong has to face tough opponents and he could have been in danger of aggravating his condition.

“The worst fear is that he may be pushed into premature retirement should there be another back injury at the tournament.

“Let him recover fully and take his own time to come back. Three or four months if he needs that amount of time.

“He is only 23. If he can keep himself fit and refuses to give up, Tze Yong can definitely get a shot at the 2028 Olympics.”

If Tze Yong heeds the advice and takes longer time to heal, it means, he will also have to miss the Thomas Cup Finals in Chengdu, China from May April 26-May 5.

Rashid hopes BAM would not take the gamble by fielding Tze Yong for the Finals.

“We don’t have much options in the singles and BAM may be hoping to include him in the Thomas Cup squad but it will be a gamble,” added Rashid.

“If it was a knee or ankle injury, it is still manageable but we cannot take chances with back injury.

“If Tze Yong doesn’t look after himself, this injury may cause him to suffer after he retires and his livelihood could be affected.

“We want the best for him but we also need to be careful not to lose another quality player due to injury.”

Tze Yong was devastated that he had to withdraw from the Asian Championships but has vowed to make a strong comeback.

“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,” said Tze Yong.

BAM may not need to be reminded that Tze Yong had aggravated his back injury by playing in the Asia Badminton team championships in Shah Alam last month and eventually was forced to undergo surgery.

The temptations will always be there to utilise Tze Yong’s services for the Thomas Cup but it would do the shuttler a world of good if he is not considered for the major meet this year.

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